Po­lice agent ini­ti­ated into mob as part of probe

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - Adrian Humphreys

An un­der­cover po­lice agent was for­mally in­ducted into the Mafia in Canada while au­thor­i­ties se­cretly video­taped the ini­ti­a­tion cer­e­mony, an un­ex­pected high­light in a large drugs, guns and money probe snar­ing al­leged mob fig­ures on both sides of the Canada-U. S. bor­ders.

In Novem­ber 2015, a mobster in the Bo­nanno crime fam­ily — one of the in­fa­mous Five Fam­i­lies of the Mafia in New York City — trav­elled to Canada to con­duct the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony, ac­cord­ing to U. S. au­thor­i­ties.

The new mem­ber was told to re­port back to a cap­tain in the Bo­nanno or­ga­ni­za­tion, prose­cu­tors al­lege.

What the gang­sters didn’t know is the re­cruit was an un­der­cover agent co-op­er­at­ing with po­lice on both sides of the bor­der and video and au­dio of the cer­e­mony was se­cretly recorded.

The i nduc­tion, i nvolv­ing at least five men, was al­legedly presided over by Dami­ano Zummo, 44, an act­ing cap­tain in the Bo­nanno crime fam­ily.

“The rea­son why we’re here is from this day for­ward, you’re gonna be an of­fi­cial mem­ber of the Bo­nanno fam­ily,” Zummo says, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script of the cer­e­mony.

“It’s al­ready — from this guy, this guy, this guy — ev­ery­body ap­proved it, so from this day for­ward, you’re a mem­ber of the Bo­nanno fam­ily. Con­grat­u­la­tions,” said Zummo.

“Thank you,” the re­cruit said.

The new mem­ber was then for­mally in­tro­duced to other mem­bers us­ing the tra­di­tional Mafia code of call­ing a made man a “friend of ours,” and then told the in­ter­nal hi­er­ar­chy of who he re­ports to, called a cap­tain or skip­per.

“And now I want to in­tro­duce you to John. John, friend of ours with the Bo­nanno. John, ( name of agent deleted), friend of ours with the Bo­nanno. Now, your cap­tain is (name deleted.)” “Okay,” said the re­cruit. “He’s our skip­per. ( Nick­name of Bo­nanno mem­ber deleted), is our act­ing … You’re gonna be in our regime,” Zummo al­legedly said. “OK.” “You only an­swer to the Bo­nanno fam­ily.”

Un­less por­tions of the cer­e­mony have not yet been re­vealed, it is a stripped and in­el­e­gant ver­sion of the tra­di­tional Mafia cer­e­mony which typ­i­cally in­cluded a blood oath and burn­ing of a pic­ture of a Catholic saint.

The cer­e­mony high­lights the re­mark­able depth of the po­lice pen­e­tra­tion dur­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tive Cana­di­anU. S. probe.

“The record­ing of a se­cret in­duc­tion cer­e­mony is an ex­tra­or­di­nary achieve­ment for law en­force­ment and deals a sig­nif­i­cant blow to La Cosa Nos­tra,” said Brid­get M. Ro­hde, Act­ing United States At­tor­ney for the East­ern District of New York.

The RCMP was ret­i­cent to dis­cuss the coup, with RCMP Supt. Chris Leather only say­ing the probe “di­rectly in­fil­trated the high­est lev­els of tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime op­er­at­ing in the area.”

The probe, code- named Project OTre­mens, be­gan when “a unique op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self to the RCMP in 2013,” he said.

“We had an op­por­tu­nity to in­fil­trate some higher ech­e­lon tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime groups … Be­cause of the co­op­er­a­tion of some­one who is re­spected by tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime in both coun­tries.”

The guns, drugs and money probe ended with charges against nine peo­ple in Canada, in­clud­ing Domenico and Giuseppe Vi­oli, of Hamil­ton, Ont., the sons of for­mer Mon­treal Mafia boss Paolo Vi­oli who was killed in 1978 by mem­bers of the ri­val Riz­zuto crime fam­ily.

Domenico Vi­oli was taken into cus­tody early Thurs­day while Giuseppe, known as Joe, was wanted on a Canada-wide war­rant.

The Vi­oli broth­ers are “well es­tab­lished, in­flu­en­tial; they have an in­ter­na­tional reach and are sig­nif­i­cant play­ers in or­ga­nized crime,” Leather said.

The probe re­vealed, how­ever, that in­fil­tra­tion can go both ways.

The RCMP ad­mit­ted in­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered first­hand the power of or­ga­nized crime to cor­rupt of­fi­cials — in this case, a civil­ian mem­ber of the Toronto po­lice charged with 20 counts of breach of trust for al­legedly mak­ing po­lice data­base queries on be­half of the crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion to fur­ther a crim­i­nal en­ter­prise, po­lice said.

Erin Maranan was charged last year for search- es on sev­eral peo­ple, two of whom were later killed, but the con­nec­tion to the larger probe was not re­vealed at the time.

The four- year in­ves­ti­ga­tion also shows the tra­di­tional cross- bor­der rec­tan­gle of Mafia or­ga­ni­za­tions from 60 years ago re­mains in­tact: Hamil­ton- Buf­faloMon­treal-New York.

Among those ar­rested in Canada are mem­bers of the To­daro or­ga­nized crime fam­ily, based in Buf­falo, ac­cord­ing to U. S. au­thor­i­ties. The To­daro crime group was built by the now- de­ceased Joseph ( Lead Pipe Joe) To­daro, Sr., who took over the Buf­falo Mafia once led by the in­flu­en­tial boss Ste­fano ( The Un­der­taker) Ma­gaddino.

The op­er­a­tion spanned from Bri­tish Columbia to Que­bec and south to the United States; of­fi­cials in Italy, Mex­ico, Colom­bia and the Nether­lands were also in­volved.

Po­lice in Canada seized fen­tanyl, car­fen­tanil, heroin, co­caine, metham­phetamine, LSD and black mar­ket gam­ing ma­chines. Also seized dur­ing the probe were con­tra­band cig­a­rettes linked to the Toronto- area Com­misso crime clan, po­lice said.

In the U. S., in a separate but re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tion, four New York res­i­dents were ar­rested, i nclud­ing Zummo; all have links to two in­fa­mous NY Mafia fam­i­lies, the Bo­nan­nos and the Gam­bino fam­ily once led by John Gotti, au­thor­i­ties said.

The U. S. men var­i­ously face gun, drug and loan­shark­ing charges. Po­lice seized an ar­se­nal of three au­to­matic as­sault ri­fles, a semi- au­to­matic ri­fle, five hand­guns and a sup­pres­sor.

In one drug trans­ac­tion, Zummo al­legedly sold more than a kilo­gram of co­caine in­side a Man­hat­tan gelato store.

Giuseppe (Joe) Vi­oli

Domenico Paolo Vi­oli

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