TORONTO - Mob boss Vito Rizzuto is dead but his vendetta lives on.
Carmine Verduci, 56, was gunned down outside a private Vaughan social club, police said Friday.
Verduci is a suspected Toronto-area ‘Ndrangheta clan mob hitman described as a “bona fide psycho-killer.”
It’s proof the Vito Rizzuto vendetta continues, sources believe.
“It’s not over,” a source said. “This is a direct result of Montreal. This is a message to the Calabrians. This is a settling of accounts.”
Verduci is known to be a very close associate of Carmelo Bruzzese, the man Canadian authorities say is a leader of the ‘Ndrangheta and is being held by immigration authorities as he fights deportation to Italy “on grounds of organized criminality.”
Verduci, a Canadian citizen who had homes in Woodbridge and Caledon, was also identified in Italy’s Project Crimini as a Canadian link to Calabria.
Verduci was born in Oppido Mamertina in Calabria, was charged with mafia association in the huge anti-Mob investigation in 2011. The Italian investigation unveiled the ‘Ndrangheta structure in Canada, naming the clans in Toronto and Thunder Bay, and Verduci was identified as a messenger between Canada and Italy.
In Project Crimini, Italian police picked up Verduci in 2009 wiretaps speaking with crime family chieftain Giuseppe “The Master” Commisso about who was elected as Capo Crimini, an honorary position who chairs an annual meeting of ‘Ndrangheta crime clan leaders. It was a link between Verduci and Italian organized crime figures that was unknown to police.
He was repeatedly shot outside the Regina Café around 2 p.m. Thursday. York Regional Police cordoned off the Regina Rd. café as forensic experts gathered what physical clues they could.
“We’re looking for two suspects in this case,” Sgt. Clint Whitney said.
He said two white men are sought in connection with the slaying.
One is described as short, with a slim build, wearing black or grey hoodie and dark baggy pants. No further details were immediately available on the second suspect.
“It’s believed they fled the area in silver or grey Honda Civic, or a vehicle of similar design,” Whitney said.
He said police have been “getting good co-operation from witnesses who were at the scene,” but they continue to appeal for others who saw the killing to come forward.
“We’re fortunate there are many businesses in the area with security cameras,” Whitney said. “Investigators have seized surveillance footage from those businesses and they are reviewing it, so we should be able to release better suspect descriptions later.”
Anyone with information in this murder is urged to call York Regional Police’s homicide unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7865, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Police in Ontario and Quebec were uncertain as to how the settling of accounts stood after Montreal mafia chieftain Vito Rizzuto died of natural causes on Dec. 23, 2013.
The 67-year-old Mob boss was on a rampage, seeking revenge for the assault on his family that began in 2009 with the deaths of his son, his father, and family members and friends who were senior members of this crime clan.
It’s believed a confederation of Ontario ‘Ndrangheta clans and turncoat Quebec mobsters launched the assault while Rizzuto was in a Colorado jail serving a 10-year sentence for his role in the 1981 murders of three Bonanno captains who were apparently planning a coup.
But shortly after his release and return to Canada, Rizzuto began his vendetta.
He reached out to Italy in the slaying of his former Ontario captain Juan Fernandez, known as Joe Bravo, to Mexico to kill Moreno Galo, and to the GTA with the shooting murder of hitman Salvatore “Sam” Calautti. They were but three who were eliminated.
Rizzuto, however, ran out of time as he died of natural causes in December and Ontario-based ‘Ndrangheta clan members thought they didn’t have to look over their shoulders. They body guards that travelled with them and their family members were set aside.
Police knew his vendetta wasn’t complete but investigators were unsure if it would continue past his death or if a balance of power would be reached. Thursday’s assassination of Verduci shows the vendetta continues, a police source said.
Police were waiting to determine if the Rizzuto vendetta had stopped and it appeared to be quiet on the Mob front.
“This is the big drop,” the source said. “This is a big message. It ain’t over.”
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