Johnny Papalia Wiki – Johnny Papalia Biography
Johnny Papalia is also known as Johnny Pops Papalia or “The Enforcer”, was an Italian-Canadian Mafia figure based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was the boss of the Papalia crime family, one of three major crime families in Hamilton, the other two being the Musitano crime family and the Luppino crime family.
Papalia was born in Hamilton, to Italian immigrants. At a young age, he was involved in petty crimes. By the 1950s, he moved his way up to drug trafficking and formed a powerful alliance with the Buffalo crime family. Papalia also operated various gambling bars and vending machine businesses. By the 1960s and 1970s, he played a role in the French Connection smuggling operation. On May 31, 1997, Papalia was shot to death outside his vending machine business by Kenneth Murdock, a hitman hired by Angelo and Pat Musitano of the Musitano family.
Why Johnny Papalia was arrested?
Papalia was of Calabrian descent and was born in 1924 in Hamilton. He was arrested for the first time in 1945 for burglary and was arrested again in 1947 for operating an illegal gambling house. After he got out of prison he joined a local drug dealer, Harvey Chernick, who could supply up to 1000 people in Toronto. In 1949 Papalia was arrested for selling heroin. In court he claimed that he needed the drugs for medical reasons, claiming he had syphilis. The judge fell for it and only gave Papalia 2 years.
Johnny Papalia Early life
Johnny Papalia was born on March 18, 1924 in Hamilton. His father, Antonio “Tony” Papalia, who had early Picciotteria values, was a bootlegger who immigrated to Canada from Delianuova, Calabria, Italy, in 1912, through New York City before moving on to Montreal, Quebec then New Brunswick in the coal mines, before finally settling on Railway Street in Hamilton, Ontario in 1917.[a] His father became associated with Calabrian compatriot and notorious bootlegger Rocco Perri, and later Guelph mobster Tony Sylvestro, working as a bootlegger who operated speakeasies. He was suspected in playing a role in the murder of Perri’s wife Bessie Starkman in 1930. Papalia’s mother, Maria Rosa Italiano, also came from a Mafia family, the Italiano clan, who also participated in Perri’s gang. Maria Rosa initially married Antonio’s younger brother Giuseppe Papalia Jr., giving birth to two sons in Italy, however when Giuseppe died, she immigrated to Canada with her two sons in 1923 to marry Antonio. Johnny, the oldest brother to Frank, Rocco and Dominic Papalia, half-brothers Joseph and Angelo Papalia, brother-in-law Tony Pugliese, and associates, all worked in running his clubs and gambling operations.
Johnny Papalia criminal activities
It is also believed Antonio and his son Johnny Papalia, along with Stefano Magaddino of the Buffalo crime family, played a role in Perri’s disappearance in 1944 after Perri left members of his Mafia crew “slighted”, though both cases remain unsolved.
Johnny Papalia was involved in petty crimes from a young age. He was arrested in 1949, and sentenced to two years in prison at the Guelph Reformatory for possession of narcotics, down from conspiracy to distribute narcotics. When he was released in 1951, he moved to Montreal for a stint, where he worked with Luigi Greco and New York Bonanno crime family representative Carmine Galante in heroin trafficking. He later shifted to Toronto extorting brokers and running gambling clubs. By the mid-1950s, Papalia was called back to Ontario by Magaddino and inducted into the Canadian arm of the powerful Cosa Nostra family of Buffalo.
In 1955, with assistance from Sylvestro, Papalia started opening charter gambling clubs in Hamilton and Toronto. Sylvestro’s son-in-law Danny Gasbarrini, Papalia’s brothers Frank, Rocco and Dominic, half-brothers Joseph and Angelo, brother-in-law Tony Pugliese, and associates Red LeBarre, Freddie Gabourie, Frank Marchildon and Jackie Weaver, all worked in running Papalia’s clubs. After police raids, Papalia started working with James McDermott and Vincent Feeley in several clubs throughout southern Ontario
Johnny Papalia Death
Papalia was fatally shot in the head on May 31, 1997, at the age of 73 in the parking lot of 20 Railway Street outside his vending machine business, Galaxy Vending, in Hamilton. The hitman Kenneth Murdock claimed that he had been ordered to kill “Pops” by Angelo and Pat Musitano of the Musitano crime family who owed $250,000 to cover bookmaking debts to Papalia. Murdock also killed Papalia’s right-hand man Carmen Barillaro two months later. In November 1998, Murdock pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree murder, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and named Pat and Angelo as the men who had ordered the murders; he was released on parole after serving 13 years. In February 2000, the brothers were sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy in the murder of Barillaro in a plea bargain arrangement. No conviction was obtained in relation to the murder of Papalia. In October 2006, the Musitano brothers were both released from prison.
Johnny Papalia Funeral
Amid controversy, Papalia was not given a full funeral mass by the Catholic Church due to his criminal history. He was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, in a family plot, in Burlington, Ontario.
Johnny Papalia French Connection
After his release, Papali contacted Carmine Galante, who was sent to Canada by Joe Bonanno to expand his business. Galante realized that Papalia has a large number of links that could be very useful in the Hamilton and Toronto area. Galante used Papalia for gambling dues and heroin trading for a while. However, Buffalo boss and Bonanno cousin Stefano Magaddino had been a Papal father’s partner for years and therefore Papali chose Magaddino as his partner and employer on the Bonanno Family. In 1960, he was appointed as a caporegime in the ranks of Magaddino. In the 1950s, the Papacy had included itself in the French Connection. The two main partners were Albert Agueci, known as the Vito and the Agueci Brothers, and were brought from Sicily. The Sicilian Mafia had strong ties with the French mafia and the Papacy, with the help of the Agueci brothers, who operated as one of the largest Heroin contacts between Canada and the USA. Cooperation with the Agueci brothers ended with the brutal murder of Alberto Agueci in 1961 and the imprisonment of Vito. The killing was ordered by the Pope’s boss Stefano Magaddino.
Johnny Papalia Not well liked
The loss of the Agueci brothers did not cause further problems for the Papacy and continued to make wealth with the heroin trade. After the French connection was completed, the Sicilian mafia took over and continued to supply to Papacy and its partners. Although he was a good winner, he was not well liked. He did not like new friends and could not stand young and inexperienced gangsters. He also didn’t think about a final successor, which proved to be a critical mistake. A friend later said, “We should have respected him for his role,” but he got on everyone’s nerves. In 1974, the Papacy was threatened by Montreal leaders Vic Cotroni and Paolo Violi, because Papalia did not put them into a $ 300,000 extortion plan.
In the 1990s, the Papacy banned him from entering Hells Angels, who worked for the Montreal Mafia in his district, causing more friction between him and his partners. As we got older, officials said that the Papali was showing alzheimer’s symptoms. This speculation could turn Papacy into a target. Meanwhile, another family in Musitano was entering the Papal lands. Musitanos were part of ‘Ndrangheta’ and had overseas strong ties.
In 1995, 57-year-old Dominick Musitano died of a heart attack. Their son Pasquale and Angelo later took over the family business. They immediately started making plans to shoot Papali to take over his business. On May 31, 1997, Papalia was shot dead in front of his job at Railway Street in Hamilton. The murder was committed by a hitman named Ken Murdock. Just 2 months after Papali’s murder, his right hand, Carmen Barillaro, was killed by the same hit man. When Murdoch needed to be arrested and brought to court, he said to the judge, “I killed the Papacy for 2,000 and 40 grams of cocaine, then I killed Barillaro.” Murdoch was later sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes.
Johnny Papalia Death Warrant
Pat Musitano signed the death order on May 31, 1997, just minutes after long-time underground chief Johnny Papalia hit the pavement as a door leaf.
Still, it took 23 years to collect the staggering karmic debt of rotting gangsters.
It turned out to be the third time of attraction for hitmen who hunted the Hamilton mafia boss.
In April 2019, Musitano barely missed tagging the finger when he was shot four times outside the office of the Mississauga lawyer.