MONTREAL – Former Rizzuto associate Joseph “Joe” Di Maulo was assassinated at his opulent home north of Montreal in the first Mob hit since boss Vito Rizzuto returned to Canada last month.
The 70-year-old took two bullets to the head Sunday evening in Blainville, Que., sources told QMI Agency.
His wife, Huguette Desjardins, found the body in their driveway.
Bullet casings could be seen on the brick-lined driveway of the riverside home as investigators combed the property. A forensic provincial police bus was parked across the street.
Di Maulo was a Rizzuto adviser and brother-in-law of Raynald Desjardins, one of the few non-Italians to crack the crime family’s inner circle.
Vito Rizzuto returned to Canada last month after serving a six-year prison term for a 1981 Mob triple murder. Experts have said he would rather settle scores than make peace.
There are reports that Desjardins and Di Maulo might have had a falling out with Rizzuto after they angled for his job.
Former Montreal police investigator Richard Dupuis said Di Maulo might have angered Rizzuto for failing to strike back following the murders of Vito’s son Nick Jr. in 2009 and his father, Nick Sr. in 2010.
“(Di Maulo) did nothing to protect Vito’s interests, assuming he wasn’t the one who decapitated Vito’s network and his family,” Dupuis said, adding, “Vito is at war. Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Several top Rizzuto associates were killed or vanished while the don was in prison.
Aside from his father and son, brother-in-law Paolo Renda was kidnapped and is presumed dead, and the balance of power has shifted to Calabrian mobsters in the Toronto region.
Di Maulo was also from Italy’s southern Calabria region but he switched over to the Sicilian Rizzuto clan after previous associations with the Cotroni and Violi organizations.
The Rizzutos eliminated top leaders from both rival clans and by the 1980s they sat atop Canada’s Mafia hierarchy.
Di Maulo kept a low profile over the years though he could be seen at local concerts and sporting events.
He was convicted in 1971 in a triple murder at a Montreal nightclub, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.
Recent Mafia-related assassinations:
August 2009: Convicted drug trafficker Federico del Peschio, 59, a former cellmate and friend of the now-deceased godfather, Nicolo Rizzuto, Sr., is shot to death outside his north-end Montreal restaurant.
December 2009: Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., 42, son of Vito Rizzuto and grandson of the don, his namesake, is shot to death out front of a west-end construction business.
May 2010: Rizzuto consigliere Paolo Renda, 70, is grabbed from his car in Montreal and hasn’t been heard from since.
June 2010: Rizzuto second-in-command Agostino Cuntrera, 66, and bodyguard Liborio Sciascia, 40, are shot to death in front of Cuntrera’s east-end Montreal restaurant supply business.
September 2010: Rizzuto associate Ennio Bruni is gunned down while leaving a cafe in suburban Laval.
November 2010: Nicolo “Nick” Rizzuto Sr., 86 is assassinated by a sniper in his north-end home as he cooked dinner near his wife and daughter.
November 2011: Salvatore “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna, 40, thought to be the don-in-waiting, is shot and killed northeast of Montreal.
March 2012: Rizzuto associate Giuseppe “Closure” Colapelle, 38, is murdered in his car outside a known Mafia hangout in Montreal’s north end.