Peter Edwards Thestar.com THE HAMILTON SON of a murdered mob boss turned himself in to police on his 47th birthday on Friday to face multiple charges in a massive international police investigation into organized crime, including fentanyl trafficking. Giuseppe (Joe) Violi was the subject of a Canada-wide warrant for a day after his brother Domenico Violi, 51, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid in Hamilton on Thursday. At a news conference announcing the charges, RCMP Supt. Chris Leather alleged the brothers are “well-established” in organized crime, with a reach into Italy and other parts of Europe. The brothers are the sons of Paolo Violi and grandsons of Giacomo Luppino, both once considered major leaders of the ndrangheta, or Calabrian Mafia, in Canada.
Paolo Violi was murdered in 1978 in Montreal in the midst of an underworld war with the Rizzuto crime family. Luppino died of natural causes in Hamilton in March 1988 at the age of 88. Back in the late 1960s, the RCMP hid recording devices amongst Luppino’s tomato plants in the backyard of his cozy, detached brick home on Ottawa St. S. in east Hamilton. Those recordings captured Luppino talking about a variety of things — ranging from the freewheeling playing style of colourful Maple Leafs’ forward Eddie Shack to what Luppino considered the abundance of crime opportunities in his new homeland. The RCMP also overheard Luppino talk with his wife Domenica about work stress and his feelings of contempt for a man who didn’t respect the traditional family unit. Luppino was secretly recorded talking dismissively of a man who he considered a coward.
“I told him what kind of a half a man is he?,” Luppino says. “If I have to do something in fear, I’ll go and drown myself in the lake. I told him that if a man is weak and has to do things because of fear and these things are wrong, then it’s better for him to kill himself. “I told him if they want, kill me. Because I say so. And if they should kill me, I’ll always spit in their faces and tell them they are the dishonerate (the dishonoured).”
The recordings from the tomato plants also gave an insight into Paolo Violi’s moral code. On one occasion, the RCMP bug captures him telling his father-in-law “that he is going to warn a man in Toronto to stay away from a married woman who has three children,” according to police summary of the conversations. “He is going to tell the person to stay away or he will be either severely beaten or killed.” The secret recordings from Luppino’s tomato plants were later used by the RCMP to help prove the existence of the ndrangheta in Canada. In one of the recorded talks, Luppino told his wife that he and their son Jimmy had recently met with Stefano Magaddino, an undertaker who was then head of the Buffalo mob family, about Toronto mobster Paul Volpe.
“Magaddino told Jimmy that if he went with or had dealings with Paul Volpe to be very careful, because he will cheat you or see that you are sent to jail. Magaddino also mentions that Volpe cheated him once,” Luppino said. Summaries of the conversations were filed as exhibits in a trial in Hamilton in August 1982. Giuseppe and Domenico were eight and 11 respectively when their father was murdered in 1978 in the Montreal ice cream shop which had been his headquarters. Two uncles of Giuseppe and Domenico Violi were also slain in a protracted war with the Rizzuto crime family. The Violi family moved the brothers back to Hamilton, where they lived under the protection of their grandfather Luppino.
The police operation announced this week, nicknamed “OTremens,” targetted 14 individuals, including the Violi brothers. Also turning himself in to authorities on Friday was Masimigliano Carfagna of Burlington. Both Violis and Carfagna are charged with 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 criminal organization offences, including instructing and participating in a criminal organization.