The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the request of a drug smuggler with reported ties to Montreal’s Rizzuto family to return to Canada to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
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In making Thursday's ruling, the court upheld the right of the federal public safety minister to refuse requests from Canadians imprisoned abroad to return to Canada and serve the rest of their sentences at home.
Pierino Divito, 75, was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 18 years by a Canadian court for his involvement in one of the biggest cocaine smuggling operations in Canadian history.
He was found guilty of conspiring to import and traffic over 5,400 kilograms of cocaine in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
While he was serving his 18-year sentence, the United States requested his extradition on charges of conspiracy to possess over 300 kg of cocaine with the intent to distribute in Florida, reads the Supreme Court decision.
He pleaded guilty and has been serving out a seven-and-a-half-year sentence in a Texas prison since his 2005 extradition.
In 2006, Divito requested a transfer back to Canada to serve the remainder of his American sentence.
The U.S. government agreed, but the Canadian Minister of Public Safety denied the request, citing that he constituted a threat to Canadians and to the country. A second request was also denied by the Canadian government.
Divito appealed the constitutionality of the decision, but not the reasonableness of the decision itself.
The man is purported to have ties to the Rizzutos, the infamous crime family that is believed to play a major role in the running of the Montreal Mafia.