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If someone is convicted of a serious crime in the Greater Toronto Area, he or she may be sentenced to years in prison, but there is often a possibility of parole. For a 43 year old from Vaughan, however, his request for day parole was recently denied by the National Parole Board. The man pled guilty to a cocaine trafficking conspiracy in 2009, but he has always maintained that he is not associated with the Rizzuto crime group, a mafia-like organization operating in Canada.
It was the Rizzuto family, however, that cost the man parole. The National Parole Board cited in its decision that the offender had failed to sufficiently distance him from the family and negative influences. It believes that the man has continued to maintain connections to the criminal underworld, despite the fact that he is currently in prison.
The 43 year old has come clean about his gambling addiction and said that he was only planning to traffic cocaine because he needed to pay off his gambling debts to the Rizzuto family. His participation was solely to cover his gambling losses.
There are assumptions that many people in Toronto will make about accused or convicted of drug crimes, including that the individual is untrustworthy. It is hard to convince people, whether it is the court, a jury, a parole board or just members of the public that the accused is innocent or has reformed. This can have negative effects on housing, employment, relationships and, in this case, parole. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to work with a cocaine possession defence lawyer following an accusation of drug smuggling.
Source: Toronto Star, “No parole for jailed cocaine smuggler with Rizzuto ties,” Peter Edwards, Feb. 18, 2013