VAUGHAN - One of the two men executed early Friday in a banquet hall parking lot northwest of the city was not only a well-connected Calabrian mobster, he was also “a prolific killer,” according to a police source.
Salvatore ‘Sam’ Calautti lived by the gun, so it should come as no surprise he died by a gun.
A source told the Toronto Sun it’s suspected the 41-year-old left “a ton” of dead bodies in his wake over the years. Even other mobsters have described him as “a hot head” and “one of a kind.”
The Mob hitman and debt collector, who was involved in the drug trade and enjoyed gambling, had a reputation for being ruthless.
When people who owed money were warned they’d be getting a visit from Sam, they tended to pay up, the source said.
Calautti has been tied officially to at least two murders and four attempted murders over the last 17 years but he always managed to beat the rap.
He faced a first-degree murder charge for the slaying of Guiseppe Conguista, who was found riddled with bullets in 1996.
It was alleged at the time that the two had met outside a gaming house near Finch Ave. and Weston Rd., which was run by a close friend of Calautti, to discuss a $500 debt.
Conguista, a father of two, was shot nine times.
Calautti was found not guilty by a jury the following year when a witness provided a description of the shooter that didn’t match up.
He was charged with four counts of attempted murder in 1999 after a gunman ambushed four men in a car at an intersection in North York.
The shooter in that attack pulled up in a vehicle next to the victims on Falstaff Ave., just west of Keele St., and opened fire. One of the men was hit in the arm, the others were unscathed.
It appears those charges didn’t stick either.
A year later, Calautti was suspected of killing Gaetano ‘Guy’ Panepinto, an associate of the Rizzuto family — a Sicilian Mafia group based in Montreal.
The coffin business owner was at the wheel of his Cadillac in Etobicoke when he was shot six times.
Investigators suspected the killing was retaliation for two of Calautti’s friends who vanished and are presumed murdered. But they were never able to pin Panepinto’s slaying on him.
Calautti’s luck wasn’t confined to the courtroom.
Just last year the restaurant owner was in the news after he cashed in a $168,000 Proline sports lottery ticket.
It’s unclear how James Tusek, who was also shot to death Friday morning, is tied to the Mob world. But he also had his share of run-ins with cops.
He was among three men charged with attempted murder and other offences in 1997 for brutally stabbing Craig McGuire, 23, a manager of a Just Desserts in Scarborough, and beating up his 26-year-old friend.
And Tusek was one of eight people charged in a $16-million marijuana grow-op bust in Niagara in 2008 — the region’s biggest such bust at the time and the second-largest Ontario had ever seen.
The accused were allegedly growing pot in numerous locations, including an old church.
However, the case fell apart and Tusek’s charges were stayed after a judge accused three Niagara Regional Police officers involved in the drug investigation of misconduct.
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