The bloodshed caused by a “power struggle” in Canada’s criminal underworld continues to flow as the son of a well-connected mobster was killed in a targeted hit this week.
CeCe Luppino, 43, is the child of Rocco Luppino, a well-known and influential figure in the Canadian Mafia scene who is connected to Buffalo's Todaro family. Cousins of Luppino, Domenico Violi and Giuseppe Violi, were recently taken down in a RCMP drug trafficking sting. During the testimony it came out that Domenico Violi may be the highest ranking Canadian in an American mafia ever.
What police described as, the “obviously deceased” body of Luppino was found in his home shortly before 6 PM on Wednesday—he was last seen alive at 3:30 PM. He was shot at a close range. At a press conference, Det. Sgt. Peter Thom said that Luppino’s death is Hamilton’s first of the year.
When asked about how they knew it was targeted, Thom responded by saying, “just the nuances of the incident itself, the way in which it was carried out. It was a close-up encounter and obviously, where it occurred, it was a very specific and targeted event.” The detective went on to say they have CCTV footage but have yet to go through it and wouldn’t clarify where or how many times Luppino was shot.
According to the National Post, the man had actually turned down working in the mob, saying that a life in the underworld brings little cash and “there are too many headaches.” Police said that he did not have a criminal record and was not known to them.
His death is the third in a series of murders connected to organized crime in the city—police have yet to publicly connect his death to organized crime.
The two other deaths were those of Angelo Musitano and Albert Iavarone who were killed in May of 2017 and September of last year. Iavarone, a real estate agent connected to the mob, was killed when he was walking into his home from his car. Musitano likewise was killed in his driveway, when he was shot multiple times in his truck. In both cases, the killer was waiting for them to return home.
Musitano was a member of the Musitano crime family, and Iavarone was likewise believed to be connected to the Musitano. Speaking to the CBC following Iavarone’s death a former police officer who focused on organized crime said public executions like this send a message—killing someone in this style is “a huge sign of disrespect and says that this person's life and family are worthless to the underworld."
These two killings, and quite possibly the recent death of Luppino, have been connected to a nationwide shift of power from the Montreal based Rizzuto family—the long time Canadian leaders of organized crime—to the Hamilton-based Ndrangheta. This is something that Thom, who is also investigating the deaths of Musitano and Iavarone, reiterated in a press conference following Iavarone’s death, blutingly saying that, "it's our belief there is something going in the underworld, maybe a power struggle.”
In a recent VICE story regarding the murder of a mafia-affiliated man in Montreal in late January, John Westlake, a veteran of both the Montreal police force and the RCMP, said that the shift from Montreal to Hamilton in a done deal, stating “[the Montreal murder] doesn’t point to a shift, the shift’s already there—the Hamilton people are back.”
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