Toronto-area criminals face "shock and disbelief", says an organized crime expert, after a Montreal law office was bugged as part of a police operation.
RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Among those arrested in Montreal's busts were lawyer Leonardo Rizzuto, 46, the son of former Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.
By: Peter Edwards Star Reporter, Published on Mon Dec 28 2015
Tremors are still being felt throughout the GTA underworld after massive drug busts against the Mafia, Hells Angels and street gangs in Montreal, a GTA organized crime expert says.
Toronto-area criminals were amazed by the scope of Projects Magot and Mastiffs –joint raids led by the Quebec provincial police last month, Antonio Nicaso said in an interview.
Nicaso noted that two lawyers are among the 48 people arrested or sought on warrants in the operations.
“No one thought the police could put bugs in a law office,” Nicaso said.
“That shocked many, many many people.”
Among those arrested were lawyer Leonardo Rizzuto, 46, the son of former Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, who died suddenly two years ago of reportedly natural causes. Leonardo Rizzuto’s boss, lawyer Loris Cavaliere, was also arrested.
Cavaliere is charged with “participating or contributing to the activity of a criminal organization” to facilitate its crimes.
He also faces charges of cocaine trafficking with nine other men between Jan. 1, 2013 and Nov. 16, 2015.
He was released on bail earlier this month after agreeing to put his practice on hold and not to associate with his clients or anyone with a criminal record.
He’s also not allowed to attend his own law firm, Cavaliere et Associés on St-Laurent Blvd. in Montreal.
At the time of the arrests, police identified Leonardo Rizzuto and Stefano Sollecito, 48, as joint heads of the Montreal Mafia after the death of Vito.
Sollecito is the son of Rocco (Sauce) Sollecito, a longtime Rizzuto associate.
Stefano Sollecito was identified in 2003 as part of Vito Rizzuto’s effort to expand into Toronto.
After the arrests last month, police said Cavaliere acted as a facilitator and moderator for the criminal alliance.
“All the crucial decisions were made in his office,” Sûreté du Québec Chief Inspector Patrick Bélanger told the press.
Nicaso said GTA criminals must be feeling “shock and disbelief” that the police operation took them into lawyers’ offices.
The arrests came as a war between Vito Rizzuto and underworld rivals – including some in the GTA – remained unresolved.
“You cannot avoid that,” Nicaso said. “There was a war in Montreal. The war isn’t settled yet. There are people still with a desire for revenge.”
Nicaso noted that some key members of the Rizzuto organization are due to be released from prison over the next few months.
That makes things particularly volatile in 2016 for mobsters in Toronto and Montreal, Nicaso said.
“This is a studying phase,” Nicaso said. “A phase in which they are all looking at each other.”