Quebec cops on alert for Mafia reprisals

Police tape lines the road as Surete du Quebec officers investigate the street outside the home...

Police tape lines the road as Surete du Quebec officers investigate the street outside the home where the murder of reputed mafia member Joe Di Maulo took place in Blainville, Quebec, November 5, 2012. Local media reported that Di Maulo was shot in his driveway on Sunday evening. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:41 PM ET

Quebec's public security minister says police are on high alert in the wake of the latest Mafia murder.

Rizzuto family associate Joseph "Joe" Di Maulo was gunned down at his home north of Montreal on Sunday — the first mobster to fall since Vito Rizzuto's return to Canada last month.

Minister Stephane Bergeron said he doesn't want to see a repeat of the 1990s biker war that claimed several innocent victims.

"We certainly want to avoid vigilante justice in the streets," Bergeron told reporters. "When scores are settled, there's a real danger of collateral victims."

Before returning to Canada, Rizzuto served several years in a Colorado prison for a 1981 Mafia triple murder.

Police continue to try to unravel the motive for Di Maulo's murder. Sources say it's not clear if Di Maulo was killed because he betrayed Rizzuto or if he was the latest victim of Rizzuto rivals who are suspected to have killed Rizzuto's father, son and several close associates in recent years.

Di Maulo's daughter spoke to QMI Agency to defend her father's integrity.

Mylene Di Maulo said her father left the Mafia world years ago to focus on his family.

"My father was a wonderful man," she told crime reporter Claude Poirier on his daily television show on Tuesday.

Between sobs, she added: "I'd like people to stop saying he was the No. 2 man in the Mafia. My father had retired, he was far removed from that environment."

Di Maulo, 70, was a Rizzuto adviser for 30 years, switching over from the Cotroni and Violi clans that were eliminated when Vito's father, Nick Rizzuto, rose to power in the early 1980s.

He maintained a public profile over the years, forging ties in Quebec's artistic community and running bars and concerts.

But his Mafia connections had been on the public record since the late 1970s when his name came up at an inquiry into the Mafia.

He had been arrested and convicted for a triple murder at his Montreal nightclub, La Casa Loma, in 1971.

The conviction was overturned on appeal and his daughter maintains he didn't deserve such a brutal end.

"Nobody understands, we find it appalling," Mylene Di Maulo said. "You wouldn't even do that to an animal."


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