Nicolo Rizzuto Murder Ends Rizzuto Crime Family Reign

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Nicolo Rizzuto

The shocking murder of Godfather Nicolo (Nick) Rizzuto while eating dinner in his family’s Montreal home Wednesday night has likely signaled the end of the Rizzuto crime family, said retired RCMP intelligence analyst Pierre de Champlain.  The only remaining senior leader of the family is his son, Vito.  However, Vito Rizzuto has been under house arrest since 2004 for his role in the murders of three other mobsters in New York in 1981.. 

“Vito will come back at some point, but it’s clearly finished for the family,” said André Noël, co-author of Mafia Inc.

Vito is expected to be released within the next three years. 

The elder Rizzuto was 86-years old.  His family has been under attack for a number of years.  His grandson, and namesake, was shot to death last year while standing outside his Mercedes, six bullet holes in his chest. Paolo Renda, Nicolo's son in law, disappeared on May 20, 2010, and is presumed to have been kidnapped.  A month later Agostino Cuntrera, who is believed to have taken control of the family, was killed together with his bodyguard on June 30, 2010.  Shortly thereafter, a Rizzuto associate Ennio Bruni was killed while leaving a cafe in suburban Laval.

The Rizzuto clan’s alleged criminal activities included loan sharking, money laundering, murder, drug trafficking, pornography, and gambling.


Nick Rizzuto’s Rise


Rizzuto was born in Cattolica Eraclea, Sicily, in 1924, and immigrated to Canada in 1954 when the family settled in Montreal.

Rizzuto began his Mafia career reportedly controlling much of Montreal’s drug trade during the 1970s while answering to the Bonanno crime family of New York.  He was also linked closely to the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan of Sicily.  He had ties to organized crime in Canada, the United States, Venezuela and Italy.

By the 1980s, the Rizzutos emerged as the city's pre-eminent Mafia crew after a turf war between the Montreal family's Sicilian and Calabrian factions.

Rizzuto would often act as mediator on behalf of the Hells Angels, the Mafia, street gangs, Colombian cartels and the Irish mobs such as the West End Gang.

On February 11, 2010, Nicolo Rizzuto entered a guilty plea to tax evasion charges and was ordered to pay a near one million dollar fine.

Rizzuto had already made it known in recent years he no longer wished to participate in any of the family’s business activities. 

“What’s stunning is that Nick had already let it be known he was no longer interested, that he was no longer interested in playing a role. It’s stunning to see them get rid of someone who was pretty much inactive,” Noël told the Globe and Mail.

Noël also believes that Vito’s eventual release could trigger more violence.

“(But) it’s already a bloodbath,” he says, having detailed in his book some 40 murders and disappearances among gang members since 2006.

Dozens of Italian cafes and pizzarias have been fire bombed in recent years due to turf conflicts.

While the FBI has long considered the Rizzuto crime family connected to the Bonanno family, Canadian law enforcement disputes this notion and considers the Rizzuto clan a separate crime family enterprise.

The Crime Scene


A wooded area behind the home was roped off.  Rizzuto's assassin reportedly set up in the woods and shot him through a window.

Two women were with Rizzuto when he was shot and called 911. They were being treated for shock.  Some reports had a small child at the scene of the shooting as well.

Police had warned Rizzuto in the past that he might be a target.

"There is a Mafia faction that decided to end the reign," De Champlain told QMI Agency in an interview Wednesday.

"They started by eliminating the son, the brother-in-law, then the patriarch . . . they're trying to eliminate all of the people who might represent a danger for the faction that wants to take control of the Montreal mafia."

He added that Rizzuto Sr.’s shooting in front of beloved family members represents the clan’s loss of influence. 

"Normally this is done in the street, not in the house" said De Champlain. "It's a lack of respect. It shows that the Rizuttos have fallen very far in the mafia world."

- Alejandro Botticelli,

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