The Siderno Group is a criminal association in Canada and Australia related to the 'Ndrangheta, a Mafia-type organisation in Calabria. The association is labelled the "Siderno Group" because its members primarily came from the town of Siderno on the Ionian coast in Calabria and migrated to Canada and Australia in the 1950s.
The Siderno crime group operates throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and Europe and is composed of a group of families who are related by blood or marriage. Siderno is home to one of the 'Ndrangheta's biggest and most important clans, the Commisso 'ndrina, involved in the global cocaine business and money laundering. According to the Siderno police force, "The criminal minds of Siderno are in Canada." One of them, Antonio Commisso, was arrested in June 2005.
The group has moved narcotics over three continents. They had contacts in Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile and Peru, and had permanent representation in Colombia for drugs and in Costa Rica and Panama for money laundering. Its key man in Colombia, Roberto Pannunzi, was arrested in Medellin, Colombia in 1994. In the past, he had been in charge of heroin shipments from Turkey through Italy to the United States.
In Canada, in particular in the Greater Toronto Area, the Siderno group includes the Coluccio, Tavernese, DeMaria, Figliomeni, Ruso, and Commisso crime families. Leaders are both based in Calabria and Ontario. The group was built up by Michele Racco, urged by Antonio Macrì, the undisputed boss of Siderno until he was killed in January 1975. Michele Racco had been initiated to the local 'ndrina and moved to Canada in the early 1950s, and died of cancer in January 1980.
After Michele Racco's death, his son Domenic Racco filled his void. In January 1983, Anthony Musitano of the Hamilton Musitano crime family 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 Domenic Racco, who violated their cocaine trade agreement by dealing behind Musitano's back, and also owed the Musitano family as much as $500,000. Tony Musitano befriended inmate Billy Rankin at Millhaven Institution in Kingston who was due to be released in December that year. Giuseppe Avignone, nephew of Tony and Domenic Musitano, often visited Tony in prison to discuss details of the plot, which were secretly recorded by the police. Rankin was released on December 7, and given "the okay" by Domenic Musitano. On the night of December 10, 1983, Racco got into a car in front of his Mississauga apartment with Rankin, Domenic Musitano and Peter Majeste, thinking it was to discuss potential drug trade – the night he was taken to a railway track and killed. In March 1984, Domenic and Tony Musitano, Avignone and Rankin were arrested. Domenic Musitano received six years for being an accessory after the fact to murder. Anthony 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.
The group was at the centre of a criminal business such as drug trafficking, cigarette smuggling, extortion, and gambling. The organisation managed to gain high levels of income from these activities in Canada, but the affiliated persons used to maintain tight links with the small and poor town of Siderno. In fact the organisation of the group was controlled from Siderno or in accordance with clans based there.
A recently discovered Canadian connection was Cosimo Stalteri, considered to be the boss of one of 10 ‘Ndrangheta clans in Ontario, based in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and London. A retired Woodbridge businessman he was credited with helping take the Calabrian Mafia in Toronto from a poor group of immigrants to a powerful criminal organisation.
The Australian version of the Siderno Group was involved in drug and arms trafficking. In the Australian case too, businesses were carried out in very tight relation with the Siderno families or families coming from the surroundings of the town.
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