Investigators secretly placed cameras and recording devices in the office of Mafia-linked lawyer Loris Cavaliere which led to multiple arrests in 2015. Among those arrested were Stefano Sollecito, Leonardo Rizzuto, and Gregory Woolley. According to authorities Sollecito and Rizzuto had taken control of what remained of the Rizzuto crime family after the passing of godfather Vito Rizzuto. Many recorded conversations from a conference room the men thought was safe supplied investigators with a glimpse into the alliance between the Montreal Mob, Bikers, and Street gangs.
“Stefano Sollecito, Leonardo Rizzuto, Gregory Woolley”
Vito Rizzuto had formed deep ties between the various criminal enterprises in Montreal and throughout Canada and had a knack for keeping the peace. After his death, many believed that these alliances would ultimately crumble setting the stage for a new era in the Montreal underworld. But the Project Magot recordings showed that Stefano and Leonardo with the help of Woolley had continued in this tradition forming similar ties. In fact, in 2015 the three mobsters were seemingly still some of the most influential figures on the streets even though the Rizzuto family had suffered great losses in the Montreal Mafia war.
During these talks, various topics were discussed including territorial separations of activities like drug trafficking, taxes to be paid by drug dealers, and even disputes within the organization. It became clear from these conversations that Woolley had become a very influential figure acting as a bridge between the mafia, bikers, and street gangs. When he was arrested in 2015 he was considered to be a powerful decision maker within organized crime. But the alliance built to better share the Montreal drug trade was often plagued by bitter rivalries and mistrust.
The multitude of recordings during the investigation showed that along with communication problems and territorial disputes there was also plenty of distrust and suspicions with talks of even eliminating certain people. In one meeting between Sollecito, Rizzuto, and Woolley they discussed brothers Andrea and Salvatore Scoppa and how they were no longer trusted even though they had previous ties to Vito. They even discussed the possibility of trying to pull one of the Scoppa brothers “apart” although Leonardo was opposed to it according to the report.
In another meeting, Sollecito and Woolley discuss a problem with a Rizzuto family associate named Gianpietro (JP) Tiberio. While Sollecito calls him a liar he still suggests they along with Rizzuto could sit down with him and possibly offer him drug turf in north Montreal. Sollecito mentions removing a man named “Sal” and replacing him with Tiberio. But it was clear Stefano didn’t trust Tiberio as much as Leonardo did saying “Are you f—king stoned? So you believe what JP is telling you?”
It was during that same conversation where Stefano revealed the extent of Woolley’s trust and influence saying; “I know Sal’s reputation. I don’t have the relationship I have with Greg,” Sollecito says. “Greg, I see once, twice a week. We share business. We share things with Greg. We share big secrets. I don’t do that with Sal. JP doesn’t know I see Greg twice a week. He doesn’t know what I do with Greg.” Woolley was seemingly just as trusted by leaders from the street gangs and the Hell’s Angels.
Stefano was also recorded complaining to Loris Cavaliere, saying “Like a marshmallow …” when talking about Leonardo Rizzuto and his telling others what to do. The investigation hit a major snag in February when a judge determined that the conversation recorded in Cavaliere’s offices were obtained illegally. This led to a stay of proceedings against Stefano and Leonardo and the charges were dropped. Woolley was not as fortunate and ended up being sentenced to eight years behind bars just days ago after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges.
Just before their arrest in 2015 authorities has warned both Sollecito and Rizzuto that they were being targeted by rivals. The bloody Montreal Mafia war had already claimed numerous casualties and law enforcement was hoping to ease tensions and slow the acts of violence. They even went as far as asking Sollecito to try and calm the game in the field according to a report. Among the factions battling for control in Montreal was one believed to be backed by the Calabrian mafia also knowns as the Ndrangheta.
It remains unclear as to whether or not Stefano and Leonardo have maintained control of what remains of the Rizzuto family. But this newly released information seems to show that the Rizzuto’s still maintained a level of power even after the start of the war and Vito’s passing. Whether or not that has carried over and remains today is a question still without an answer. There is no doubt the criminal landscape in Montreal and perhaps across Canada to some extent has changed. It will be interesting to see to what extent these changes have on who controls what and the possible emergence of new leaders amongst the various factions within the Montreal Mafia.