A coordinated Canadian-US investigation into drug trafficking including the fentanyl trade has led to the arrest of alleged members and associates of organized crime on both sides of the border.
The RCMP conducted early morning raids across Ontario arresting nine people and issued Canada-wide warrants for five others with ties to the Calabrian mafia also known as the Ndrangheta as part of a multi-year investigation. Authorities seized multiple kilograms of fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, and heroin along with other controlled substances and millions of illegal cigarettes. The FBI conducted a parallel but separate investigation targeting both the Gambino crime family and the Bonanno crime family of the New York mafia. The feds arrested four men they claim are associated with the Cosa Nostra families charging them with narcotics trafficking, loansharking and firearms charges.
“Domenico Paolo Violi and Giuseppe (Joe) Violi”
Among those arrested by the RCMP in Canada was Domenico Violi the son of Paolo Violi the former Calabrian boss of the Montreal mafia. Violi was the head of the Montreal crime family until he was murdered in 1978 by members of the Rizzuto crime family as they moved to take control of the Montreal underworld. An arrest warrant was also issued for Giuseppe Violi another one of Paolo’s sons. The two alleged GTA mobsters being accused are grandsons of Giacomo Luppino of Hamilton. According to police Luppino was a founding member of a governing body of criminals in the Ndragheta called the Crimine. Canadian authorities said the operation began with a mobster that turned on his associates giving them an opportunity to infiltrate some higher level traditional organized crime members. They also added that they had a source that was respected by organized crime groups in both the U.S. and Canada.
Among those arrested by the Feds in New York were Bonanno family capo Damiano Zummo, Gambino family member Paul Semplice, and associates Salvatore Russo and Paul Ragusa. According to the feds during the investigation agents were able to obtain surveillance recordings of a 2015 induction ceremony in Canada in which Bonanno capo Zummo inducted a confidential informant into the crime family. Acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn called the recordings “an extraordinary achievement for law enforcement and deals a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra.” If convicted Zummo, Ragusa and Russo could face life in prison while Semplice could be looking at up to 20 years behind bars.
Canadian authorities alleged the Violi brothers are well-established with “an international reach.” There have been alleged links esp when it comes to drug trafficking between the Ndrangheta in Canada and the NY mafia for years now. Many believe it was the Ndrangheta that backed a rebellion against the Rizzuto crime family led by Raynald Desjardins for control of the lucrative drug trade in Montreal and New York. According to the FBI, the Calabrian mafia was partnering with these members and associates of the Bonanno and Gambino families which were obvious choices considering their long-standing involvement in the international drug trade and their past links to the mafia in Canada. Michael McGarrity, special agent in charge of Criminal Division for the FBI’s New York Field Office said: ” these investigations revealed renewed Mafia links from New York to Buffalo and Toronto to Montreal and led to arrests of significant La Cosa Nostra figures”.