Paolo Renda, 70, brother-in-law of imprisoned Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto and reputed consigliere of the underworld organization, disappeared on May 20, according to stories by Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette and Adrian Humphries of the National Post. Renda was last seen at 3:15 p.m. His wife Maria reported him missing at 6 p.m. Authorities suspect he has been abducted and fear he may have been killed.
The Mafia of Montreal appears to be under siege by a rival underworld organization. Nick Rizzuto, son of boss Vito Rizzuto, was shot to death Dec. 28, 2009. Authorities suspect that a Calabrian gang may have been responsible. Two men were killed in a March 18 shooting that police suspected was a retaliatory move by the Sicilian Rizzuto clan. The Rizzuto family reportedly came to power in Montreal in the 1970s, after having local Calabrian underworld boss Paolo Violi killed.
Renda (right), jailed in October 2008 for possessing the proceeds of crime, was released from prison in mid-February. Fearing that he would become involved in a gang war, authorities placed restrictions on his release.
Investigating the disappearance, police found Renda's Infinity automobile near Albert-Prevost Avenue not far from his Cartierville home. The windows were open, and the keys were in the ignition.
The Renda and Rizzuto families have been close for many years. They share a common background in Cattolica Eraclea, in southern Sicily between Sciacca and Agrigento. Renda's wife is the sister of Vito Rizzuto, now imprisoned in the U.S. He served as godfather to Rizzuto's son Nick, who was killed in December. Renda is considered Rizzuto's right-hand man and is believed to have handled the finances of the Montreal Mafia. He was among the dozens arrested in Operation Colisee in 2006.
Rizzuto's father, Nicolo, was scheduled to appear in court May 21 on a five-year-old impaired driving charge. That appearance was postponed after his attorney argued that it would be too dangerous for the 86-year-old to be seen in public. Nicolo was fined in February for evading taxes on millions of dollars held in Swiss bank accounts.
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Read more about the Mafia of Montreal:
The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto
by Adrian Humphreys and Lee Lamothe
- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.