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Luppino crime family

Luppino crime family
Founded1950s
Founded byGiacomo Luppino
Founding locationHamilton, Ontario, Canada
Years active1950s–present
TerritoryVarious neighborhoods over Hamilton and Toronto
EthnicityPeople of Italian descent as "made men", and other ethnicities as "associates"
Criminal activitiesRacketeering, loan sharking, money laundering, fraud, murder, gambling, drug trafficking, extortion and corruption
AlliesBuffalo crime family
RivalsVarious gangs in Hamilton

The Luppino crime family, (Italian: [lupˈpiːno]) also known as the Luppino-Violi crime family,[1] is a 'Ndrangheta organized crime family[2] based and founded in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in the 1950s by Giacomo Luppino. The Luppino family is one of three centralized Mafia organizations in Hamilton, with the other two being the Musitano crime family and the Papalia crime family.[3] The Luppinos have had strong connections with the Buffalo crime family of Buffalo, New York.[4]

By 2018, the Violis had an increased role in the organization, particularly Domenico Violi, the son of Montreal mob boss Paolo Violi, who had married into the Luppino family through Giacomo's daughter. He had reportedly been made the underboss of the Buffalo crime family and one of his duties was to "assume control over the operations of the Luppino-Violi crime family". By late 2018 however, Domenico was serving a prison term for drug trafficking, as was his brother Giuseppe.[5] Natale and Rocco Luppino are believed to be the leaders of the Hamilton-based crime family.[4]

Early history

Giacomo Luppino was born in 1900 in the village of Oppido Mamertina, Calabria, Italy.[6] In 1955 he, his wife Domenica (nee Todaro)[7] and their 10 children immigrated to Hamilton from Castellace, a subdivision of Oppido Mamertina.[8]

In the early 1960s, Giacomo Luppino was the capodecina of the Hamilton faction of Stefano Magaddino's Buffalo crime family, giving Luppino control over all of his branches in Ontario.[6] As boss of all bosses in the region, he organized and founded the Camera di Controllo in Canada in 1962.[9] Giacomo Luppino and Santo Scibetta also answered to Magaddino while Johnny Papalia was imprisoned in the early 1960s.[6] The Luppinos also became associated with local bootlegger Paolo Violi, but left for Montreal in 1963 on Giacomo's orders to avoid clashes with Papalia. In Montreal, Violi developed connections with the Cotroni crime family, while maintaining ties with the Luppino family; he married Giacomo's daughter, Grazia in 1965.[10] Giacomo had five sons who were involved in organized crime: Vincenzo (Jimmy), Natale (Nat), Rocco, Antonio (Tony) and John Luppino.[11] In 1967, police began a five-year surveillance operation of Giacomo Luppino, which included wiretapping his Hamilton home.[12]

In the early 1970s, Natale Luppino, worked with Toronto mobster Paul Volpe on extortion schemes where they would be paid kickbacks from both the union and the developers for negotiating construction contracts.[13][14] In 1978, Rocco Luppino, Dominic Musitano, owner of a Hamilton haulage company, and Angelo Natale, president of the Ontario Haulers Association, were charged with conspiracy to commit extortion after police uncovered a protection racket on Ontario's independent trucking industry; after a five-year legal battle, they were acquitted in 1983.[15][11]

In 1981, Tony and John Luppino, and Gerry Fumo were convicted of fraud, receiving 15 month, 12 month and 18 month sentences respectively.[11] Giacomo Luppino died of natural causes at the age of 87 in March 1987, whereby Jimmy Luppino took over the family.[8]

In a 1999 interview with Musitano family hitman Kenneth Murdock, Murdock revealed he was ordered to kill Jimmy Luppino, but did not go through with the order.[16]

In July 2009, Jimmy Luppino died of natural causes at the age of 83 in Burlington.[8]

The Violi, Buffalo and Montreal connections

A 2002 Halton Police report suggested the Violi brothers, Domenico (Dom) and Giuseppe (Joe) Violi, grandsons to Giacomo Luppino, who moved back to Hamilton with their mother after their father Paolo Violi was killed in Montreal in 1978 by the Sicilian Rizzuto crime family, became affiliated with the Luppino family.[17] In November 2017, the brothers were charged with 75 offenses, such as conspiracy to import a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking a controlled substance, trafficking a controlled substance, trafficking contraband tobacco, trafficking firearms, and participating in a criminal organization.[18] Nine people in total were arrested and charged, including Massimiliano Carfagna of Burlington, Ontario and Adriano Scolieri of Vaughan, Ontario, while warrants went out for additional suspects.[19][20][21] During the multi-city bust, police seized large quantities of fentanyl and carfentanil, heroin, cocaine and over 250,000 tablets of controlled substances, some three million cigarettes and several gaming machines.[18] During the same week in November, the FBI arrested several people in New York on related offences;[18] the charges included narcotics trafficking, loansharking and firearms.[22]

In March 2018, Carfagna was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison for drug trafficking and weapons offenses, and also stated between March and October 2016, he and Joe Violi agreed to import 200 to 300 kilograms of cocaine into Canada.[23] On June 1, 2018, Joe Violi was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty on drug trafficking charges.[24] On December 3, 2018, Domenico Violi was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to trafficking drugs to a paid undercover police agent for more than US$416,000, as part of a three-year RCMP-led police Project OTremens, during which the agent was officially inducted as a "made" member of the Bonanno crime family in Canada, according to an agreed statement of facts.[25] Domenico Violi admitted to trafficking approximately 260,000 pills, including PCP, ecstasy and methamphetamine to the undercover agent.[25][26]

Wiretaps from recorded from 2015 to 2017 also indicated Domenico Violi was made the underboss of the Buffalo crime family[27] by boss Joseph Todaro Jr. in October 2017 in a meeting in Florida; the first Canadian to hold the second-highest position in the American Mafia.[28] After being promoted to underboss, Violi is heard on wiretaps boasting that "he had beaten out 30 other people for the position," indicating the Buffalo family had at least 30 made men which included Canadian members such as the Violi brothers' uncles Natale and Rocco Luppino. [1] The wiretaps also revealed the activity of The Commission (the governing body of the American Mafia) as Violi's promotion was so unusual that Joe Todaro Jr. consulted with The Commission for permission to promote Violi as the Buffalo family's new underboss.[28]

On January 30, 2019, Cece Luppino, son of Rocco Luppino, was killed in front of his parents' Hamilton home.[29][30] Cece's father and his uncle Natale, believed to be leaders of the family, are both made men, with his father also said as being a captain in the Buffalo crime family.[4] According to Hamilton Police Service, Cece Luppino did not have a criminal record, and was not known to police.[31]

According to wiretaps from the Violi brothers case, Giuseppe Violi told the undercover agent back in February 2015 that Cece had been approached about becoming a made member, but Cece had told his father that he believed there was not enough money to be made and "that there are too many headaches".[32] Court documents filed by the RCMP in spring 2019 confirmed a connection between the Luppino family and the mob in Buffalo.[31]

The Cece Luppino hit may have been related to a home invasion on April 19, 2018, in Hamilton, when three men forced their way into a Hamilton house and stabbed one individual. A police source told CBC News that both were related to Cece Luppino "and are members of the Luppino crime family". In late April 2019, police arrested and charged two of the four suspects in Montreal with attempted murder, while the other two, also from Montreal, were already in custody; none were considered to be Mafia members.[4][33] At that time of the latest arrests, there was some speculation as to whether the target of 2018 incident had actually been Natale Luppino because the house was owned by Natale.[4]

A 2019 CBC News report later quoted a Mafia expert as stating that "Rizzuto's death paved the way for upheaval in the underworld. There's a power struggle left from the vacuum from Rizzuto".[34] Also in spring 2019, one report stated that the Luppinos and the Musitano crime family seemed to be involved in the city's "mafia war". A report by The Hamilton Spectator discussed a "resurgence of Mafia violence in Hamilton and surrounding areas that has most recently included the shooting of Hamilton mob boss Pat Musitano" but made no connection to the Luppino family.[4] Sources contacted by CBC News led the site to state that "some sort of underworld power struggle is tearing through the region, as old scores are settled and players jockey for power in a time of unrest".[31]

References

  1. ^ a b "'It opens up an underworld:' How a drug plea has exposed a Mafia network in Hamilton". 2018-12-03.
  2. ^ "Unease as mobsters set free". National Post. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Unease as mobsters set free". National Post. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Four charged in 2018 stabbing at mobster Nat Luppino's home". Welland Tribune. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  5. ^ "'It opens up an underworld:' How a drug plea has exposed a Mafia network in Hamilton". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  6. ^ a b c Schneider, Stephen (2018). Canadian Organized Crime. Canadian Scholars' Press Inc. p. 176. ISBN 9781773380247.
  7. ^ "Obituary: Luppino, Immacolata "Concetta" (nee Sorenti)". The Hamilton Spectator. June 15, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Retired mobster dies peacefully". thespec.com. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  9. ^ Schneider, Stephan (2016). Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4W1A8: Harper Collins. pp. Kindle Location 9780. ISBN 9781443429900.
  10. ^ Schneider, Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada, p. 259
  11. ^ a b c Schneider, Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada, p. 333
  12. ^ Schneider, Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada, p. 310
  13. ^ "Mob war led to Russo shooting, sources say". theglobeandmail.com. 16 April 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  14. ^ Schneider, Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada, p. 319
  15. ^ "Realtor's murder 'smells like a power play' in Hamilton's Mafia underworld, ex-undercover cop says". thestar.com. 1 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Mafia hitman reveals his code for killings". thestar.com. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  17. ^ "2002 Halton Police report had intelligence on accused mobster". thestar.com. 15 November 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Sons of former Montreal Mafia boss implicated in major RCMP drug bust". Montreal Gazette. 10 November 2017.
  19. ^ Edwards, Peter (15 November 2017). "2002 Halton Police report had intelligence on accused mobster" – via Toronto Star.
  20. ^ Edwards, Peter (10 November 2017). "Accused Violi brothers in trafficking bust come from colourful family" – via Toronto Star.
  21. ^ "Cafe owner gets 13 years for drug trafficking". thestar.com. 30 January 2018.
  22. ^ "RCMP announces major bust with links to organized crime in Canada and U.S." 9 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Burlington man sentenced in drug trafficking case - Toronto Star". thestar.com. 16 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Son of murdered mob boss sentenced to 16 years in prison for drug trafficking". thestar.com. 1 June 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Murdered mob boss's son pleads guilty in Hamilton to selling drugs to 'made' New York Mafia member". thestar.com. 3 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Hamilton trafficking convictions tied to rare Mafia initiation ceremony secretly videotaped by a police informant". thestar.com. 4 December 2018.
  27. ^ "A Canadian murder. 'Buffalo's crime family.' Is the Mafia still around?". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Shocking mob trial allegation: Hamilton crime figure was Underboss of Buffalo Mafia". National Post. 2018-12-04. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  29. ^ "'Too many headaches' and not enough cash: Hamilton murder victim had turned down offer to join Mafia". nationalpost.com. 31 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Mob hit: Cece Luppino gunned down at his parents' Mountain Brow home". thespec.com. 30 January 2019.
  31. ^ a b c "Montrealers facing attempted murder charges after attack on Luppino crime family". CBC News. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  32. ^ "'Too many headaches' and not enough cash: Hamilton murder victim had turned down offer to join Mafia". National Post. 31 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Montrealers facing attempted murder charges after attack on Luppino crime family". cbc.ca. May 1, 2019.
  34. ^ "Montrealers facing attempted murder charges after attack on Luppino crime family". CBC News. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.