LA Mobster Indicted in International Drug Ring

By Tony O'Neill 05/24/13

Alessandro Taloni allegedly helped run a billion dollar cocaine ring spanning three countries.

Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto Photo via

In a scene straight out of Martin Scorsese's most fevered fantasies, suspected mafia drug trafficker Alessandro Taloni pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom Thursday to charges of trafficking cocaine for the infamous Montreal-based Rizzuto crime family.After a five year investigation, the DEA claim that Taloni and several others—including French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer—were involved in a vast cross border smuggling ring that funneled Canadian ecstasy and weed to New York before converting the profits into Mexican cocaine which was shipped back to Canada. During a search of Taloni’s two Beverly Hills mansions, authorities turned up $1 million and a staggering 49 kilograms of cocaine. Additional searches of other locations linked to the operation have turned up a further $1.6 million and 34 more kilos of cocaine. “Taloni was a major narcotics distributor who used his connections to powerful international organized crime groups to obtain and distribute tens of millions of dollars worth of deadly narcotics,” said Eastern New York US Attorney Loretta Lynch.

Prosecutors allege that Taloni, 39, who has duel Canadian and Italian citizenship, was one of 10 members of a Montreal-based drug ring that linked members of the Rizzuto and Bonanno crime families, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Native American smugglers from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. According to the indictment, the operation would move ecstasy and hydroponic weed from Canada into the US to sell on the East Coast. The crop was then sold in New York, and huge sums of cash from the sales were routinely flown to Los Angeles aboard private chartered planes. On Oct. 13, 2010, U.S. drug agents intercepted one of the planes and reportedly found US$5.5-million in cash. Taloni is alleged to have flown from Montreal to Los Angeles to collect the money, which he then used to buy cocaine from Joaquin Guzmán Loera, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, and one of the world's most wanted criminals. The cocaine would then be shipped to Canada to be sold and the profits used to underwrite the marijuana pipeline into the US. If convicted, Taloni could face 10 years to life in prison.

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Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.