September 28, 2012
Windsor port may be playing role in Montreal Mafia wars
By QMI Agency
MONTREAL - The Port of Windsor in southwestern Ontario is playing a pivotal role in the Mafia wars that have plagued Montreal over the last several years, according to an investigation by QMI Agency's investigative TV unit, JE.
A Mob insider told JE that the Calabrians are taking advantage of relatively lax security at Windsor's port to move drugs, while they kill Sicilian rivals.
The Calabrians gained money and power from their control of the Windsor port. And this control gave them support from drug suppliers and other mob-related people, the majority of whom only cared about money and had no specific allegiance to the Sicilians.
Sicilian crime families used the Port of Montreal to move goods for up to 30 years. However, authorities tightened security at the port after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and seizures of illegal goods increased, tainting the Sicilians' aura of invisibility.
Since the 1980s, organized crime in Montreal was largely controlled by the Montreal-based Rizzuto crime family, members of which hail from Sicily. However, a Mafia source told JE that before the Ontario-based Calabrians attacked the Rizzutos, they began using Port of Windsor as an entry port for drugs.
Windsor's port wasn't a top security priority because it didn't service shipping containers, unlike Montreal's port. Security at the Port of Windsor remained minimal, at least compared to ship container ports.
Using multiple ports is a tactic used by the Calabrian Mafia, called the 'Ndrangheta, according to Mafia expert and author, Antonio Nicaso.
"The strategy is to never use the same port," he said, in order to draw less police attention.
The 'Ndrangheta use several European ports in cities such as Rotterdam, and Naples.
"And I think that in Canada, (Calabrian mobsters) are using the same strategy," Nicaso said. "Instead of passing through the same port, they are looking to find different routes and Windsor offers a perfect alternative to smuggle drugs into the country."
And the Calabrians seemed to have had an easy time taking over from the Rizzutos, according to Richard Dupuis, former head of the Montreal police's major crime squad.
"Don't forget that 80% of (people working with the Mafia) are just there for the money," he said, and that they don't have strong loyalties to any particular family.
"What interests them is doing business, regardless of whether the boss is Sicilian or Calabrian," Dupuis said. That may explain why no one came to the aid of the Rizzuto clan when its members were being picked off one by one.
According to sources, Vito Rizzuto, reputed boss of the Rizzuto crime family, who is scheduled to be released from U.S. prison in October, asked for help but found little.
The Calabrians have since murdered more than 40 members of the Sicilian clan, including Vito's father, Nick. And according to police sources, the Calabrian Mob, which is based in Ontario, has taken over the Montreal Mafia.