An associate of the Montreal-based Rizzuto organized crime family was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of a massive drug-trafficking ring and was ordered to hand over more than $2-million in illegal profits.
Alessandro Taloni and ten others based out of Montreal, connected to the Rizzuto and Bonanno crime families, the Hells Angels and the Sinaloa Cartel, were responsible for trafficking more than $1-billion in illegal drugs into the U.S. between 1998 and 2012, prosecutors say.
Taloni, 38, plead guilty to trafficking last May but was only sentenced Friday in a Brooklyn, New York courtroom. He was ordered to forfeit $2,663,191 already seized.
“Taloni used his connections to powerful international organized crime groups to distribute deadly narcotics, worth tens of millions of dollars, across North America. His prosecution and sentence demonstrate this office’s unrelenting commitment to swiftly pursuing and prosecuting transnational organized crime beyond state and national borders,” United States Attorney for New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement Friday.
Taloni has duel Canadian and Italian citizenship.
Authorities said Taloni was sent from Montreal to Los Angeles to head up a drug operation based out of Beverly Hills.
“During the course of the government’s investigation, federal agents seized approximately $1 million in drug proceeds and 49 kilograms of cocaine from searches of Taloni’s Mercedes Benz sedan, Beverly Hills residence, and a stash house operated by Taloni in Beverly Hills. Search warrants executed at other stash houses operated by the organization in the Los Angeles area resulted in the seizure of an additional 34 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $1,600,000,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Friday.
Taloni was directly connected to now-deceased mob boss Vito Rizzuto in a court document. Rizzuto died last December of natural causes.
“At the time of his arrest, Canadian law enforcement seized a telephone from Taloni that contained contact numbers for a number of prominent members of the Montreal Mafia – including Vito Rizzuto, the boss of the Rizzuto crime family,” said a court document.
Authorities said Taloni was arrested not long after delivering $188,000 to an undercover DEA agent, who was participating in an investigation into the drug ring kingin, Jimmy Cournoyer.
“After the transfer occurred, local law enforcement agents conducted surveillance of the defendant. During the surveillance, the defendant was observed traveling to the Beverly Hills Hotel where he met with another man, who gave the defendant a large suitcase,” says a sentencing letter written by Lynch. “The defendant then placed the large suitcase in the trunk of his vehicle and took it to the home of an individual who would later begin cooperating with the government.
“Later that night, investigators stopped the defendant’s vehicle and found within it over $80,000 in United States currency and numerous BlackBerrys and other prepaid cellular telephones. When investigators searched [the cooperating individual's] home, they found 49 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $1.7 million.”