Guiseppe De Vito was serving a 15-year sentence in a maximum-security prison near Quebec City for attempting to smuggle 200 kilograms of cocaine into the country. A large undercover investigation dubbed Project Colisee by investigators found evidence of organized crime and drug trafficking, the (Montreal) Gazette reported Tuesday, including De Vito's role in the drug running operation. De Vito was not a member of the investigation's main target, the Rizzuto clan, but did business with them, police said.
Initially, investigators had said suicide was the most likely cause of death once natural causes had been ruled out. While a fugitive, De Vito's wife, Adele Sorella, killed the couple's two daughters, ages 8 and 9. While testifying at Sorella's trial, De Vito expressed remorse at failing his family and accepted a portion of the blame for his children's death for failing to be there as a father.
"I blame myself, I guess -- yes. Maybe I could have been there. I could have done something, like a father should," De Vito said during the trial.
Sorella was convicted June 24 on two counts of murder.
Investigators said it was unclear what the motive would be for poisoning De Vito. Wiretaps as part of the investigation revealed De Vito thought the Rizzuto family was behind the 2004 killing of his former mafia boss but no charges have been filed in that death.