The uniqueness of the convictions of a mob boss and and his underling, and the importance of the pending sentencing were highlighted Thursday
TORONTO — Even in Canada, membership in one of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations is a currency “better than gold,” a landmark mob trial heard.
The secrets and inner workings of the ’Ndrangheta, a Mafia association imported from Italy, were laid bare at the trial of a mob boss and an underling.
The uniqueness of these convictions and the importance of the pending sentencing were highlighted Thursday in court.
Despite the notoriety of the ’Ndrangheta as one of the most powerful and dangerous global crime threats, this case is the first in Canada of a superior court finding it to be a criminal organization since anti-gangsterism legislation was adopted 20 years ago.
“This is the first time, in a public way, that this insidious and sinister group has been brought to light and revealed and shown, how it operates in Canada,” said Tom Andreopoulos, deputy chief federal prosecutor.
He argued sentences for the men must reflect the pivotal role of the mob in orchestrating and facilitating crime at the highest level.
The global and national concerns of a shadowy group worthy of Hollywood seemed a far cry from the pair before the court.
Giuseppe Ursino, known as Pino, a quiet, 65-year-old grandfather whose lawyer was worried about him having access to heart medication, was named as a boss of a Toronto-based clan of the ’Ndrangheta. Cosmin Dracea, known as Chris, a jovial, 41-year-old doting father of two from Romania who works in a restaurant, was named as a mob-linked cocaine smuggler.
Neither man has a prior criminal record.
After often lurid testimony from the government’s star witness — a mob turncoat named Carmine Guido who wore a wire for the RCMP during meetings with senior ’Ndrangheta bosses and mob associates — a jury convicted the pair in April.
Ursino was convicted, among other charges, for trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to import cocaine related to a criminal organization; Dracea was convicted for simple trafficking of cocaine as well as conspiracy to import cocaine related to a criminal organization.
It is the “duality” of their lives — their hidden, secret lives in the underworld — that shows the power of the mob in the criminal world, Andreopoulos said.
A criminal organization like the ’Ndrangheta animates the criminal transactions in its sphere, draws credible criminals together and makes high-stakes crime possible.
“We’re talking about structured organized crime. We’re talking about a political entity, almost; a culture of crime that colonizes across the sea from Italy to Canada,” said Andreopoulos. “This is one of the most sophisticated criminal organizations in the world.