Police track children of mobsters
Secret RCMP intelligence
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The RCMP is doing some estate planning for Canada's most notorious Mafia bosses -- who are showing distinct signs of old age -- by tracking the criminal prospects of their children.
A secret cross-Canada intelligence project concludes the offspring of some key mobsters are "waiting in the wings" and will add modern innovations to traditional criminal schemes. It adds the new leaders will be harder to arrest because of "the lessons learned by their forefathers."
The dossier on the next generation of mob leadership makes it clear the Mafia will not fade away when today's godfathers die.
"There are clearly [Mafia] up-and-comers waiting in the wings, ready to take over the family business here in Canada and they have been very active for several years now already," concludes a report on the project, obtained by the National Post.
The dossier tracks Mafia families throughout Quebec and in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Niagara Falls and Windsor, Ont.
The intelligence effort is code-named Project Sorbier, a wry reference to a species of thorny Mediterranean tree and the fruit it produces.
"The new generation is involved first-hand in first-level criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and distribution," the dossier says. "This activity, on the one hand, ensures control of a given territory and, on the other hand, generates major, permanent illicit earnings. The participation of the new generation in first-level activities serves as a financial cushion for the older generation."
The new mobsters are also learning to avoid police attention.
Police agencies have "some intelligence gaps concerning the young generation's criminal activities," it says, but warns the lack of evidence of overt criminality "should not be interpreted as a sign of inactivity.
"They will make the most of the lessons learned by their forefathers. This does not mean they will not make any mistakes, as their own lack of experience may make them vulnerable," it notes.
The new generation is also expected to update the range of the mob's criminal ventures.
"The young generation will remain present in many areas of criminal activity. [But] Canada's [Mafia] criminals of tomorrow will aim to specialize themselves in other fields, in particular in the use of informatics for criminal purposes, in an effort to respond to a demand for new illicit goods and services.
"Armed with the long list of international contacts established by their predecessors over several decades, the new generation will be innovative in orchestrating conspiracies to import large quantities of drugs."
The new generation will also continue efforts to set themselves apart from other criminal enterprises in Canada by investing their illicit profits in legitimate enterprises, continuing the shift started by their father from gangster to businessman.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, construction companies, import-export businesses and real estate properties are highlighted in the report as sources for the mob's dirty money.
The project was conducted by RCMP officers in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, along with Montreal city police and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, an elite Toronto-based mob-busting unit.
The report was prepared in March, 2003, before recent events hit some of the reputed heads of Mafia families.
In August, Frank Cotroni, a former Mafia boss in Montreal, died of cancer at age 72.
Last week, Vito Rizzuto, 58, alleged to be the senior Godfather of the Mafia in Canada, was ordered extradited from Montreal to the United States to face trial over three gangland murders.
In November, Alfonso Caruana, 58, one of the world's most powerful crime bosses, was ordered to Italy to face a 21-year sentence by an Ontario court judge in Toronto.
© National Post 2004
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