As we approach the island of Sicily, its beauty takes your breath away. We disembark to climb the winding roads of Taoromino, a city that exemplifies all that Italy offers to the world. There is nothing missing: historic marble and granite architecture, luscious wines and cuisine beyond compare. Beneath the veneer, however, is a world of violence and corruption, for this is also the home of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra.
Francis Ford Coppola chose a splendid villa a few miles from Taoromino to film portions of his “Godfather” films and as we dined with the Italian owners yesterday, scenes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino flooded our memories.
Italian authorities are determined to crush the mob and are proud of the recent arrests of hundreds of mafioso and seizures of properties owned by these criminals, but their tentacles reach around the world into many cities including Toronto, Canada.
Italian prosecutors investigating mafia networks in their country and internationally have discovered seven major mafia crime families in Toronto, each with its own boss and soldiers. These cells have risen to the top of the mafia world through their trade in cocaine originating from Argentina. A detailed report from prosecutors and magistrates from the Calabria region of Italy, confirms the Toronto families have strong connections to Calabria, which has now supplanted the powerful Cosa Nostra in Sicily.
The Toronto groups have invested their profits in Toronto’s restaurants and bars and in particular, neighbouring Woodbridge, Ontario, a suburb north of Toronto which has a large community of Italians.
The Italian investigators have collected wiretap and video evidence of many meetings between Canadian mafia leaders and their counterparts in Calabria and have publicly identified the Canadian bosses. It is said that when a mob member in Calabria refers to “American” colleagues they are speaking of their contacts in Toronto.
Now that Montreal’s Sicilian Rizzuto family faces destabilization after the incarceration in Colorado of Vito Rizzuto and last year’s murder of his eldest son, Nick, it seems inevitable that turf wars will be on the agenda as Toronto’s bosses expand their criminal enterprises.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang