Hamilton, Ont. – Domenico Violli asked the judge for a moment with his family before being sent to jail for serious drug trafficking; he exchanged embraces and kisses with his wife and his 20-year-old daughter and high-pitched with his 17-year-old son, as supporters who walked out of the courtroom cried and clapped differently.
The end of the hearing on Monday was for Violie's family. It all started, however, with a family of a different kind.
Violi, 52, was caught in an ambitious police investigation that, according to officials, during his arrest, penetrated into organized crime at the highest level and showed a coffin mafiac who became a "member" of the Mafia family in New York.
The probe collected a wealth of discoveries and accusations in recorded conversations, capturing the secrets, gossip and interior issues.
Surveys, although unverified to court, suggest a reassessment of some of what is publicly known about the current state of the legendary mafia families in the United States, often referred to as La Kosa Nostra.
For example, Violi allegedly claimed eyewitness recording that it was a subset of Buffalo Mafia, the second highest position in US mafia families. If the claim is true, he will be the only person in Canada who will ever be named one of the top leadership positions in any US-based Mafia clan.
It is shocking for several reasons, of which no less than that is that the Buffalo Mafia, albeit once a powerful cross-border criminal wing, has been fatigued for years.
Talks indicate a resurrection, as well as open lines of communication between the main American boys who remained intact despite fierce law enforcement measures that caused disorder.
And, according to documents, the legendary Mafia Commission, the governing body over all the major American masses, can no longer be a completely forbidden, inactive institution.
"Domenicki, you know that you have done a story," Violie said, said the alleged head of the Buffalo Mafia family told him in 2017, after Violie was promoted to the Underboss position, according to the tapping footage offered in court.
Violie asked what he meant.
No one in Canada has ever held such a high position, said Violie, according to his counting captured on the RCMP.
There was such a unique situation that the head of Buffalo consulted the "Commission" about it, the conversation continued. The opinion, he said, is that while someone is a member of the Mafia, he has the right to have leadership positions in that family.
Monday's debate focused on the fact that Violie accepted the responsibility for human trafficking around 260,000 pills involving PCR, MDMA and methamphetamine; charges of a criminal organization against him were dismissed as part of the agreement.
He was arrested a month later after his alleged promotion.
Violi confessed through the agreed statement on the facts that he met many times with the informer, who was a trusted collaborator, and then an official "integral" member of the Bonano family. However, he did not accept Crown's allegations of far-reaching involvement in the Mafia.
Talks were observed between 2015 and 2017 and the information could not be independently confirmed. The newsletter was not named in court.
The outside court, Violi's lawyer, Dean Packet, said his client had not accepted the allegations of Croft's mafia.
"We never had a problem to plead guilty to the drug. There were other allegations of information that we would have fought," Packett said, referring to charges of a criminal organization.
In October 2017, at a meeting in Florida, Joseph Todaro Jr., the alleged chief of Buffalo, told Violi that he had chosen him by the hand, according to the tapes and the summary that were entered as exhibited in the pre-trial proceedings.
After telling his friend's story, the mafia in New York leaned and kissed Violie in a traditional show of respect, claimed the Crown's proof.
He told Violie he was "in his blood."
Violi was really born in the Mafia shadow.
He is the eldest son of Paolo Violi, who was the mighty head of the Montreal mob before his assassination in 1978 by the family of rival Vito Rizzoulo, who then took the throne of the city's underground. All Violeta's uncles on that side of his family were similarly massacred.
Violi is also the grandson of the late Giacomo Luppino, who from his humble home in Hamilton, was a high authority in Canada in the 1960s and '70s. Luppino was told that he pierced the rival's rival and for years he wore the leather flap with him.
It was Luppino who helped form an alliance between Hamilton mafias and the Buffalo mafia, which at the time was a powerful entity.
Map of Buffalo has since fallen into difficult times. Oldtimers who have led the group for years have been dying of old age or retiring with little sign of new blood, including Joe Todaro Sr., who was known for the nickname Leader Jie and was the father of Joseph Todoro.
The police evidence collected during a three-year investigation claims that the organization was revived as the last known boss, The Calzone Falzone, was ill. He died in 2016.
It seems that the reorganization began in 2014.
Captains were reportedly assigned to manage crews of troops, including one in Hamilton. There was a debate, according to alleged talks with the younger brother of Violie, Giuseppe (Joe or Joey) Violi, about whether he should "make" the Bonano family, to which their father or Buffalo belonged.
Giuseppe Violi was arrested in the same police operation. In June, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to import cocaine, cocaine trafficking and fentanyl trafficking and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Todaro, 71, was not charged in the case and did not appear personally in any of the recordings. Could not be found for comment on Monday.
Todaro has a highly successful pizza restaurant in Buffalo, and last year in an article about the Buffalo Mafia's death in Buffalo News, quotes Todaro, saying he works seven days a week at his restaurant, just like his father.
"I will not comment" on issues related to organized crime, he said, according to the newspaper, "but if you want an excellent recipe for cheese and peppers, I will tell you."
Maureen Dempsey, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Buffalo, said she could not confirm or deny any of the allegations.
Evidence from the RCMP survey suggests that lines of communication between Mafia families remain stable.
Shortly after Violie was reportedly made under Underboss, according to the documents, at least three of the families have already been told. Mikey Nose Mancuso, the head of the Bonanno family, knew, the documents said, and the Genovese family and the Kohals family were also told.
The news apparently flowed on two routes between New York and Buffalo. After the newsletter was "made," the mafia named John Porki, Zanqoco, reportedly told the mobs in Buffalo, informed the Violi newsletter.
Packages emphasized Violi's contribution to the community through charity and community services.
"He will pay a price for what he has done, but that's not all that he is and it would be wrong to make that verdict," he said outside the court.
"There is another side of him that people sincerely feel that he did good things," he said, highlighting the vast majority of supporters.
The courtroom could have been filled twice with his supporters – young and old, men and women, whole families with babies – who waited in the corridor after being rejected, because there were no more seats.
"She says a lot about the greater character of Domenic".