Gangs of Montreal: The day Vito Rizzuto died

It wasn’t in a spray of gunfire, as his father and son had died.

Six years ago today, the reign of Vito Rizzuto, who has been described as the most powerful man in organized crime in Canada, came to an end.

Not in a spray of gunfire, the way his father and son died, but at Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal’s north end.

Rizzuto, 67, had lung cancer.

He died after being rushed to the hospital with breathing problems linked to pneumonia.

It was the end of an era for the Montreal Mafia.

Federal authorities said he was the “Godfather” of the Montreal Mafia, but he described himself as an arbitrator and a jack of all trades.

Police alleged that Rizzuto led a criminal organization with tentacles reaching into Central America, the U.S., Europe and even China and Saudi Arabia. In Montreal, he persuaded rivals like the Hells Angels and street gangs to work with him to share the lucrative drug-trafficking trade.

The Dark North: Gangs of Montreal is hosted by Paul Cherry, the Montreal Gazette’s crime reporter. You can subscribe to The Dark North on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

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