Attempted murder of Leonardo Rizzuto: police expect violent response

Attempted murder of Leonardo Rizzuto: police expected a violent reply


Police expect a violent response from the Sicilian clan after the attempted murder of co-boss of the Montreal mafia Leonardo Rizzuto.

“Leonardo Rizzuto sure can't let this pass. It is all the honor of the family that is at stake, ”confirms a police source well aware of Quebec anti-Mafia investigations. “You can't do that,” she concludes. 

According to other sources consulted by our office, in three police forces, three theories are being explored to explain the attack. Here they are:

  • The first hypothesis is formulated around the revenge that the kingpin Raynald Desjardins maintains against the Rizzuto clan. Since December 2011, a dozen of his friends or associates, including his ex-brother-in-law Joe Di Maulo, have been victims of settling of scores suspected of having been sponsored by the Sicilian clan. At 69, Desjardins is intimately linked to the Calabrian mafia. During a first release in 2021, investigators found him escorted by a bodyguard in possession of the registration numbers linked to the vehicles of members of the Rizzuto clan.
  • The second hypothesis revolves around an attempt by Calabrian Vittorio Mirarchi to wipe the name of the Rizzutos off the map. Mirarchi is also the protege of Raynald Desjardins, but the strength of his support in the 'Ndrangheta in Ottawa and Toronto makes him an extremely powerful criminal. He and Raynald Desjardins are now free after serving time in prison for planning the murder of would-be godfather Salvatore Montagna in 2011.  
  • The third hypothesis evokes a blow that would come from former friends of Leonardo Rizzuto. “Over the past few weeks, there have been several meetings between different members of organized crime working together, but not everyone in the group respects Leonardo's leadership,” says a source. 


Remember that Leonardo Rizzuto was never expected to manage the destinies of the Rizzuto clan. His grandfather preferred his brother Nicolo Jr. to him, but the two were murdered in 2009 and 2010 and Vito Rizzuto died of cancer in 2013. 

“He was thrown into the fire of the action with Stefano Sollecito who had more respect in the street than Leonardo”, recalls the specialized journalist André Cédilot. 

At 53, Leonardo is the last of the Rizzuto sons still alive. The latest representative “of a sophisticated and undisputed crime family, with global tentacles”, as described by Antonio Nicaso, author and professor specializing in the mafia. 

About recordings obtained by our Investigation Office, the youngest of the Rizzuto family also mentioned the difficulties of bearing the name of the most powerful of Canadian godfathers. 

“My life is what it is, you know… We have to deal with it, that's all,” he told investigator Cédric Aubut after his arrest in Operation Magot-Mastiff in 2015.

For the time being, the leadership of the mafia is weakened, note our sources. Leonardo Rizzuto is challenged, while the other boss of the Sicilian clan, Stefano Sollecito, is very ill. But the option of not putting up any resistance would mean “sullying the family name”, they believe.  

If Leonardo Rizzuto's men remain in office for the next five years, his family will have dominated traditional Italian organized crime for half a century. 

As a reminder, the assassination of Paolo Violi in Reggio Bar on rue Jean-Talon Est in 1978 marked the end of the Calabrian reign at the head of the Montreal mafia in favor of the Rizzutos. Two years later, his brother Rocco was himself killed in his kitchen by a sniper. Part of the Violi family then left Montreal for Hamilton, Ontario. 

Several have the same impression of the end of their diet. 


In fact, the police world is not impressed by the degree of planning of the drive-by shooting style attack that almost cost the life of the mobster on Wednesday, on Highway 440, in Laval. 

“Honestly, this is a job that was given to subcontractors who were not very experienced. It would have been easy to plan a better move”, says a policeman familiar with the events of the last few days. 

An attack on the Rizzuto clan is also seen as an attack on royalty , as mobster Andrew Scoppa confided to our Bureau of Investigation in 2019. 

“It's as if they had touched the crown”, he said.

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