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organized crime in Canada

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1organized crime in Canada Empty organized crime in Canada on 4th February 2015, 19:47

Bloom 37

Bloom 37
Organized Crime is defined in the Criminal Code of Canada as a group of three or more people whose purpose is the commission of one or more serious offences that would "likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group." But perhaps a more succinct definition was given by a former United States mob boss who described it as "just a bunch of people getting together to take all the money they can from all the suckers they can."

There is more to organized crime in Canada than the Italian criminal association known as the Mafia or "the Mob" – although the Mafia is the best known and most documented group. In North America, just about every major national or ethnic group and every segment of society has been involved in organized crime. Thus we have seen Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Jamaican, Haitian, Vietnamese, Somali and many other ethnically-recruited or centered crime gangs.

Only in the 1970s did the existence of a highly organized criminal network in Canada become known to the public – thanks to various court cases as well as Québec inquiries into the Mafia, the widely publicized report of the Waisberg Commission into construction violence in Ontario, and a series of mob killings in Montréal

$20-Billion Business

In 1984 a joint federal-provincial committee of justice officials estimated that organized crime in Canada took in about $20 billion in revenues annually. The committee was formed in response to a 1980 report by the British Columbia Attorney General's office, which claimed that organized crime figures had interests in Canada's textile, cheese and disposal industries, as well as vending machine companies, meat companies, home-insulation companies, auto body shops and car dealerships, among others.


Of all organized crime groups operating in Canada, the Mafia is the best known. This is because the Québec crime probe report of 1976 (based primarily on information gathered by the "bug" planted in the milk cooler at the headquarters of Montréal mobster Paulo Violi) revealed the structure of the Montréal Mafia and its dependency on the U.S. Mafia family of Joe Bonanno. Public knowledge of the Mafia is also the result of media attention, such as the much-watched "Connections" series on organized crime broadcast by CBC-TV from June 1977 to March 1979.

The Mafia was exported and adapted to North America by a small group of Italian immigrants, mostly from Sicily and Calabria. In Sicily, and later in the U.S. and Canada, 'Mafia' came to refer to an organized international body of criminals of Sicilian origin, known as Cosa Nostra, but it is now applied to the dominant force in organized crime – the largely Sicilian and Calabrian organized crime "families." These families are held together by a code emphasizing respect for senior family members; by the structure or hierarchy of the family; and by an initiation rite or ceremony.

Although Italian crime families have been active in Canada since the early 1900s, they now operate in much more clearly structured and defined areas acceptable to other mafia families in the U.S. and Canada. More recently new N'drangheta cells of the Calabrian Mafia have emigrated to Canada after coming under intense pressure by Italian authorities in the early 2000s. Many of these newly arrived Mafiosi went to work with older, established Mafia figures, settling in the greater Montréal, Toronto and Hamilton areas. Though located mainly in the major cities, family members tend to gravitate to where wealth moves; in the late 1970s and early 1980s, some moved westward, following the movement of business to British Columbia and Alberta. Vancouver has had serious Mafia infiltration over the years as well as a more obvious biker and Asian crime presence.

Toronto Mafia

In Toronto until the mid-1980s, at least four major Mafia-style criminal organizations existed and were run by Canadians of Sicilian or Calabrian origin, two of whom were named as members of the Mafia during the Valachi hearings -- namely the organizations run by Paul Volpe and Johnny "Pops" Papalia. Since the murder of Volpe in November 1983, his old organization has mostly disappeared as well as that of Papalia, after he was murdered at the behest of a rival local Calabrian Mafia family in 1997.

Montréal Mafia  

Since the mid-1980s, Montréal has had one dominant crime family, led by the Sicilian-born Nick Rizzuto and then by his son Vito. Another family was run by Frank Cotroni until his death in 2004. The Québec crime probe exposed the membership and activities of this highly structured group in a number of its reports in the 1970s. Established first in the 1940s by Frank's older and more powerful brother Vic Cotroni, the family evolved in the 1950s into an important branch of the powerful New York City Mafia family of Joe Bonanno. It has extensive ties with Mafia families in Italy and throughout the U.S., as well as with the Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver organizations.

As of 2014, there was still an ongoing battle for Mafia supremacy in Montréal involving some Calabrian Mafiosi cells from Ontario and dissident Rizzuto family members in Québec.

At the same time, the hearings of the Charbonneau Commission into the practices of the Québec construction industry brought additional heat to bear on the old Rizzuto family leadership. The Commission's televised hearings included the broadcast of surveillance videos and wiretaps of Rizzuto family gatherings, including old man Nick consorting with and taking money from construction bosses and union leaders.

Recent arrivals from Calabria of senior members of the N'drangheta are also vying for a position in the Montréal Mafia world. A state of flux is the best way to describe the Montreal "Mob" as of 2014. In spite of this, most Mafia operations continue unabated. A new figure will likely emerge as the new godfather to run the Montréal Mafia, and he will likely come from the ranks of family members who have power and respect both in the Montréal underworld as well as in Italian and American mafia circles.

First Nations  

First Nations organized crime gangs have long existed in Canada. One prominent native organized mob group is the "Manitoba Warriors," which operates in the Winnipeg area. In January 2014, Winnipeg police arrested 57 men and women aged 17 to 51, alleging that they were members or associates of what police called the "the city's most powerful street gang."


There are strong organized crime gangs in the Greater Toronto Area primarily composed of Jamaicans, including among others the 'Malvern Crew' and 'The Galloway Boys.' Both gangs have had some of their members plead guilty to belonging to a gang under the anti-organized-crime laws. Innocent people have been killed over the past decade by members of these street gangs, in shoot-outs in Toronto streets, restaurants, and even at a neighbourhood barbecue.

Carmelo Bruzzese

Salvatore Maranzano (and named after Joseph Bonanno)

Founding location
New York City, United States

Years active
C. 1890s-present

Various neighborhoods in New York City

Made men are Italian, Italian-American. Criminals of various ethnicities are employed as "associates"

115-130 made members, 500+ associates

Criminal activities
Racketeering, conspiracy, loan sharking, money laundering, murder, drug trafficking, pornography, extortion and illegal gambling, prostitution, bookmaking, corruption

Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese, Genovese and Rizzuto crime families

Various gangs over NYC including their allies

Pasquale Cuntrera arrested on Fiumicino airport near Rome in September 1992 after he was expelled from Venezuela.


Years active

Siculiana, Ostia (Rome), presence in Canada and Venezuela


Criminal activities
Drug trafficking and money laundering

Bonanno and Rizzuto crime families

Prominent members of the clan are the brothers Liborio Cuntrera, Pasquale Cuntrera,[3] Gaspare Cuntrera and Paolo Cuntrera. At the Caruana side there are Giuseppe Caruana, Carmelo Caruana and his son Alfonso Caruana, and Leonardo Caruana.

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