Musitano crime family

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Musitano crime family
Founded1940s
Founded byAngelo Musitano
Founding locationHamilton, Ontario, Canada
Years active1940s–present
TerritoryVarious neighborhoods over Hamilton and Toronto
EthnicityPeople of Italian descent as "made men", and other ethnicities as "associates"
Criminal activitiesRacketeering, loan sharking, money laundering, fraud, prostitution, murder, gambling, drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion and corruption
AlliesRizzuto crime family
Buffalo crime family
West End Gang
Hells Angels
Various other crime families and gangs
RivalsPapalia crime family
Various gangs over Canada including their allies

The Musitano crime family (Italian: [muziˈtaːno]) is a 'Ndrangheta organized crime family based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The Musitano clan is one of three centralized Mafia organizations in Hamilton, with the other two being the Luppino crime family and the weaker Papalia crime family.[1]

Early history[edit]

In 1937, Angelo Musitano, who was also known as the "Beast of Delianova", fled illegally from Delianuova, Italy to Canada, after killing his sister Rosa, after he believed she had disgraced the family by becoming pregnant out of wedlock; he lived under the name of Jim D'Augustino upon landing in Canada.[1] In 1940, an Italian court convicted Angelo in absentia to 30 years in prison.[2] In 1965, Angelo was extradited to Italy to serve his sentence.[3] "The Beast" had two nephews, Anthony "Tony" and Dominic Musitano.

In 1978, Dominic Musitano, owner of a Hamilton haulage company, Rocco Luppino, and Angelo Natale, president of the Ontario Haulers Association, were charged with conspiracy to commit extortion after police uncovered a protection racket on Ontario's independent trucking industry; after a five-year legal battle, they were acquitted in 1983.[4][5]

In January 1983, Tony was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bombing a number of businesses in Hamilton, including bakeries. While in prison, he orchestrated the murder of Toronto mobster Domenic Racco of the Siderno Group, who violated their cocaine trade agreement by dealing behind Musitano's back, and also owed the Musitano family as much as $500,000.[6] Tony Musitano befriended inmate Billy Rankin at Millhaven Institution in Kingston who was due to be released in December that year.[6] Giuseppe "Joey" Avignone, nephew of Tony and Dominic Musitano, often visited Tony in prison to discuss details of the plot, which were secretly recorded by the police.[6] Rankin was released on December 7, and given "the okay" by Dominic Musitano. On the night of December 10, 1983, Racco got into a car in front of his Mississauga apartment with Rankin, Dominic Musitano and Peter Majeste, thinking it was to discuss potential drug trade – the night he was taken to a railway track and killed.[6] In March 1984, Dominic and Tony Musitano, Avignone and Rankin were arrested. Dominic Musitano received six years for being an accessory after the fact to murder. Tony Musitano, already in prison on the bombing charges, was sentenced to 12 years concurrently, Avignone got five years and Rankin was sentenced to 12 years, all three pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.[6][7] Tony was granted full parole in 1990.[2]

Dominic Musitano's two sons Pasquale "Pat" or "Fat Pat" and Angelo "Ang" Musitano joined their father in organized crime. By 1992, the Hamilton-Wentworth Police estimated that the family was earning $14 million per year through various aspects of illegal gaming.[8] Pat Musitano was president of P&L Tire Recycling Inc. in 1992; he was found guilty of failing to make his Mount Hope tire dump conform to the Ontario fire code. He and his father were later handed a $1.8-million fine from the Ministry of the Environment for its cleanup of the site, a fine Pat dodged with a 1993 bankruptcy claim.[9] The crime family was led by Dominic until his death on August 13, 1995 from a heart attack at the age of 57.[1] Pat Musitano took over as boss of the 'Ndrangheta organization.[10]

In 1997, Pat Musitano was in charge of a sports betting ring which brought in as much as $100,000 in bets per week; his cousin Joey Avignone also led a network for distributing illegal gambling machines in bars.[2]

Papalia hit and arrests[edit]

Also later in 1997, the family was accused of ordering the mob hits of Johnny Papalia, to whom the Musitanos owed money, and Papalia's right-hand man, Carmen Barillaro.[11] The hitman for both murders, and for the 1985 murder of Salvatore Alaimo who owed gambling money to the Musitano crime family, was Kenneth Murdock.[12][13][14] In November 1998, Murdock pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree murder, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and named Pat and Angelo as the men who had ordered the murders; he also said that Angelo had been waiting in the vehicle outside during the Barillaro murder.[12] The motive for the "hit" was self-protection. Pat was convinced that Barillaro would target him in retribution for the Papalia killing, so he and Murdock acted first.[15]

In February 2000, the Musitano brothers were sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy in the murder of Barillaro in a plea bargain arrangement.[16] No action was taken against either in relation to the Papalia or the Alaimo murder.[11][12] In October 2006, the Musitano brothers were both released from prison.[1] Angelo was re-arrested in March 2007 for a parole violation. He was held in the minimum security Frontenac Institution until June 2007 when the parole board decided not to return him to prison.[17] Murdock was also later released on parole in 2011 after serving 13 years in prison.[18][14][13]

Angelo Musitano hit and investigation[edit]

Since the brothers' release, the police had little involvement with the family for some years.[10] Then, in September 2015, Pat Musitano's 2013 Ford Edge was set on fire in a suspected arson; his home also sustained minor damage.[19][20][21]

On May 2, 2017, Angelo Musitano was shot dead in his truck in the driveway of his home in Waterdown, Ontario in broad daylight at the age of 39.[7] Surveillance video showed a Ford Fusion in front of the home and a heavy-set man shooting Angelo. The vehicle was later found abandoned; it had been stolen previously.[10] Almost two months later, on June 26, 2017, Pat Musitano's home was shot at multiple times during the night; no one was injured.[22] Hamilton Police did not receive cooperation from the family; Pat refused police protection.[23][24]

On January 11, 2018, investigations into Angelo Musitano's death revealed four vehicles were involved, and that he was stalked in the days leading up to his murder.[25] On January 23, news reports from a press conference indicated that police believed that Angelo's murder and a Woodbridge, Ontario killing of veterinary technician Mila Barberi while she sat in her car with her boyfriend, two months earlier in March 2017, not previously considered to be related, appeared to have been carried out by the same individual based on footage of the shooter and the car used from surveillance cameras at the two locations. Detective-Sergeant Peter Thom of Hamilton Police stated "there is similar evidence, the same MO and the black Honda coupe."[26][27] According to York Regional Police, Barberi was not likely the intended target.[26] Barberi's boyfriend, Saverio Serrano, who was shot in the arm, was discovered to have connections to the 'Ndrangheta through his father, Diego Serrano of Vaughan, who was sentenced to four years and six months in prison on two counts of drugs conspiracy and one possession of proceeds of crime on January 15, 2018. The elder Serrano was an associate of crime figure, Antonio Sergi of Toronto, who was killed two weeks after Barberi's murder.[28][29] Police did not find a link between Angelo's and Barberi's murders and the shooting of Pat Musitano's house in June 2017.[30]

On 13 September 2018, real estate agent Albert Iavarone was shot outside his home in Ancaster, Ontario, a similar fashion as in the Musitano murder.[31] Sources involved in the investigation said it was possible that the shooting was in retaliation for the previous actions against the Musitano family (specifically the hit on Angelo, according to some sources).[32] In any event, it was part of a mafia struggle in Hamilton according to several news outlets.[33] A Toronto Star summary added that the latest hit came in "the midst of a dispute between two Niagara Region groups of mobsters who are both tied to the New York State (Buffalo) mob.[34] Iavarone had no criminal record but was known to police as an associate of known mobsters in Hamilton.[35] However, as of 15 September 2018, police had "not explained his alleged connection to the criminal underworld and have not determined if it was a factor in his death", according to CBC News.[36]

On 20 September 2018, the police task force (Hamilton, York and RCMP under Project "Scopa") arrested Jabril Abdalla Hassan in Hamilton, and issued Canada-wide arrest warrants, and later international warrants for Michael Cudmore and Daniel Tomassetti who had fled to Mexico; a $50,000 reward for information leading to their arrests was also offered by police. Neither of the two had been arrested as of mid-April 2019.[37][33][38] Jabril Abdalla Hassan had already been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy to commit murder in both the Musitano and Barberi murders, and attempted murder on Serrano.[39][40] Cudmore was captured on surveillance camera at both murders with the same black Honda.[41] Daniele Ranieri of Bolton, Ontario is believed to be connected to orchestrating the murders; he was found dead in Mexico in March 2018.[41]

Attempted hit on Pat Musitano[edit]

On April 17, 2019, Tony Musitano died in Caledonia, Ontario of natural causes at the age of 72.[42] Pat Musitano took over as the head of "what was once one of Hamilton's most notable crime families alongside the Papalias and the Luppinos".[43]

On April 25, 2019, Pat Musitano was shot four times on a street in Mississauga, sustaining life-threatening injuries; he was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.[44] By May 1, 2019, he was no longer in critical condition,[45] and by was released from hospital on May 8.[46]

A National Post report made no comment as to the probable culprits for the attempted hit on Pat Musitano, but said that the "family's enemies are known to include criminal groups in Hamilton, Buffalo, Montreal and elsewhere, including the Luppino and Papalia crime gangs".[47] Criminology professor Stephen Metelsky of Mohawk College provided this opinion to the Spectator:[48]

"Given all the extenuating circumstances leading up to this, not just his brother's death, but his house being targeted twice, his uncle passing away ... I think that just opened up a ripe opportunity to speed up whatever plans were underway to make a power play into Hamilton."

Former Hamilton police officer Paul Manning, who specialized in organized crime, also believed that the recent death of Tony Musitano was relevant to the attempted hit on Pat Musitano. "I think his protection just died". Manning said that the Buffalo mob may have been involved but Metelsky said that it could have been part of a local turf war. [49]

Court records from a 2018 matter against Domenico and Giuseppe "Joe" Violi of the Luppino crime family discuss a claim that the Musitanos were supporting the Cuntrera crime family who have roots in Montreal and Toronto.[50] The records also refer to a September 2017 recording made by police indicating that Pat Musitano was already a marked man at that time, but provide no indication as to who had authorized the alleged "hit":[50]

"The [police agent] stated that [he] would have thought that ‘they’ would have gotten rid of [Pat Musitano] before his brother, [Angelo Musitano, murdered in May 2017]. D Violi stated that 'they' wanted to show [Pat Musitano]; that it was a message, D Violi thought. They had told D Violi that ... [Pat Musitano] would be gone; that that would be one headache out of the way".

A 2019 CBC News report later quoted a Mafia expert as stating that "Rizzuto's death paved the way for upheaval in the underworld. There's a power struggle left from the vacuum from Rizzuto".[43] A report by The Hamilton Spectator discussed a "resurgence of Mafia violence in Hamilton and surrounding areas that has most recently included the shooting of Hamilton mob boss Pat Musitano" but made no connection to the Luppino family.[51] Sources contacted by CBC News led the site to state that "some sort of underworld power struggle is tearing through the region, as old scores are settled and players jockey for power in a time of unrest".[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Unease as mobsters set free". National Post. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Humphreys, Adrian (1999). The Enforcer:Johnny Pops Papalia, A Life and Death in the Mafia. Toronto: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-200016-4.
  3. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=q7qlDG1KaiAC&pg=PA280&dq=pops+papalia&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=pops%20papalia&f=false, p=280
  4. ^ "Realtor's murder 'smells like a power play' in Hamilton's Mafia underworld, ex-undercover cop says". thestar.com. 1 February 2019.
  5. ^ Schneider, Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada, pp. 333
  6. ^ a b c d e "Chapter 2 – Settling scores". thespec.com. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Mobster Angelo Musitano shot in Waterdown driveway". The Hamilton Spectator. 2017-05-02.
  8. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=ZO8jKSn25DAC&pg=PA540&lpg=PA540&dq=Adrian+Humphreys+dominic+musitano&source=bl&ots=r-pXlseXzp&sig=RlQpFo26WO2iTetGRHpvfyh9DtM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjdt9vFiPDUAhVm2IMKHY2nBFg4ChDoAQhFMAY#v=onepage&q=Adrian%20Humphreys%20dominic%20musitano&f=false, p=540
  9. ^ "Hamilton mobsters: The Musitano family tree". thespec.com. 3 May 2017.
  10. ^ a b c O'Reilly, Nicole (29 June 2017). "Police wary of more mob violence after Musitano's Hamilton home hit with gunfire". TheSpec.com.
  11. ^ a b "Mafia hitman reveals his code for killings". thestar.com. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Brothers plead guilty in mob murder case". theglobeandmail.com. 5 February 2000. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Kenny Murdock, mob-boss Papalia's killer, gets new identity". thespec.com. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  14. ^ a b nurun.com. "Hitman out on full parole". Niagara Falls Review. Archived from the original on 2018-01-14. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  15. ^ "Murder and the Musitano clan". Macleans. 14 February 2000.
  16. ^ "Notorious mobster Pat Musitano believed to be targeted in Hamilton house shooting".
  17. ^ "Mob Boss's Son Allowed to Remain Free". National Post. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Parole of convicted mob killer notorious for his explosive temper tested by road raging motorist". 9 July 2014.
  19. ^ "Hamilton mobster's SUV found on fire in east end driveway". The Hamilton Spectator. 2015-09-22. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  20. ^ Dunphy, Bill (24 September 2015). "Hamilton mobster's SUV fire may not be mob activity: expert". TheSpec.com.
  21. ^ O'Reilly, Nicole (28 June 2017). "Shooting at Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano's home a 'warning shot' after brother's murder". TheSpec.com.
  22. ^ "Hamilton home of Mafia boss Pat Musitano shot repeatedly during the night". nationalpost.com. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Don't expect Musitano retaliation after latest shooting, expert says".
  24. ^ "Mob chief 'Fat Pat' won't play canary". Toronto Sun.
  25. ^ "Angelo Musitano was being 'stalked' in the days before he was killed: police". cbc.ca. 11 January 2018.
  26. ^ a b "Same gunman killed woman, mobster: Cops". 23 January 2018.
  27. ^ Edwards, Peter (23 January 2018). "Police link 2017 killings of reputed mobster Angelo Musitano, veterinary technician" – via www.thespec.com.
  28. ^ "Murder victim's boyfriend's dad has gangland connections". torontosun.com. 24 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Vaughan restaurateur gets third prison term for cocaine trafficking". thestar.com. 15 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Police believe suspect in Musitano death also behind fatal Vaughan shooting". The Globe and Mail. 23 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Man fatally shot in Ancaster has links to organized crime: Hamilton police". Global News. 14 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Ancaster man's murder is 'retaliation' for 2017 mob hit: former undercover cop". Toronto Star. 14 September 2018. Sources told him the murder of the Ancaster man at his home on Thursday night was “Mafia retaliation” for the murder of Waterdown resident Angelo Musitano in May 2017, Manning tweeted.
  33. ^ a b "Hamilton, Ont. mobster in 'life-threatening' condition after shooting: reports". CTV News. 26 April 2019.
  34. ^ "Buffalo mob playing role in deadly Ontario dispute, sources say". Toronto Star. 17 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Ancaster man's murder is 'retaliation' for 2017 mob hit: former undercover cop". Toronto Star. 14 September 2018.
  36. ^ "Public slayings of Musitano, Iavarone meant to send a message, says expert". CBC News. 15 September 2018.
  37. ^ "Police offer $50,000 reward for information on Musitano mob hit in Hamilton". CTV News. 4 December 2018.
  38. ^ "Seven things to know about the mob and Musitanos in Hamilton". thespec.com. 16 May 2019.
  39. ^ "Police arrest Hamilton man in killings of mobster Angelo Musitano, Toronto woman". CBC. 20 September 2018.
  40. ^ "Arrest has been made in fatal shootings of reputed mobster and innocent woman". CP24. 20 September 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Mob, murder and the Hamilton connection". thespec.com. 16 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Tony Musitano, once a notorious Mafia boss with a string of convictions and a wicked sense of humour, dead at 72". nationalpost.com. 17 April 2019.
  43. ^ a b c "Montrealers facing attempted murder charges after attack on Luppino crime family". CBC News. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  44. ^ "Hamilton Mafia boss Pat Musitano in critical condition after being shot in Mississauga: reports". nationalpost.com. 25 April 2019.
  45. ^ "MUSITANO MIRACLE: Reputed Mafia chief expected to survive". Toronto Sun. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  46. ^ "Reputed mob chief Pat Musitano leaves hospital". torontosun.com. 8 May 2019.
  47. ^ "Hamilton Mafia boss Pat Musitano in critical condition after being shot in Mississauga". National Post. 25 April 2019.
  48. ^ "Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano shot multiple times in Mississauga". The Spectator. 26 April 2019.
  49. ^ "Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano shot in Mississauga, has 'life-threatening' injuries". Toronto Star. 25 April 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Police sting revealed plans for gangland hits on Musitano family". CBC News. 29 April 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  51. ^ "Four charged in 2018 stabbing at mobster Nat Luppino's home". Welland Tribune. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.

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