The father of a man wanted for questioning over the murder of young mum Ellie Price belongs to a powerful family clan within the secretive Calabrian mafia.
The father of a man wanted for questioning over the murder of young mum Ellie Price belongs to a powerful family clan within the secretive Calabrian mafia.

Notorious Barbaro family caught in mafia’s tangled web

Ricardo "Rick" Barbaro belongs to a powerful family clan within the secretive Calabrian "Honoured Society'', otherwise known as the mafia.

Barbaro's father, Joe, is the son of Pasquale Barbaro - a significant mafia figure murdered in Brisbane in 1990.

The family has strong ties to the NSW town of Griffith, where relatives still hold a powerful place in Australia's 'Ndrangheta network.

Joe Barbaro, who lives in Melbourne's west, has eight children to three women.

Crime and family tragedy has been the story of his life.

Son Ricardo, who is wanted for questioning over the murder of Ellie Price, 26, is the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

But Joe said he and his son had not spoken for five years, Joe Barbaro told the Herald Sun.

Joe Barbaro. Picture: David Caird
Joe Barbaro. Picture: David Caird

 

Ricardo Barbaro.
Ricardo Barbaro.

Another son, Pasquale, who was a notorious Sydney drug boss notable for his gangster image and pin-striped suits, became the target of hitmen.

In 2016, in the Sydney suburb of Earlwood, the 35-year-old Pasquale was getting into his Mercedes-Benz outside construction boss George Alex's mother's home when he was shot five times in ambush.

Having already survived one attack on his life, he would not survive another.

Pasquale was aged 10 when his grandfather and namesake was murdered.

Two decades later, he had suffered the same fate.

His brother Rossario, who resided on the Gold Coast, took his own life six months later. It was believed he had deep depression after Pasquale's murder.

Harley, a fourth brother, is a member of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle club and also resides on the Gold Coast where he is facing anti-consorting law breaches.

In 2004, Barbaro's current wife, Anita, was in a shopping centre carpark when their daughter, Montana, was snatched from a baby seat and kidnapped. The baby was returned to her distraught mother days later after she was found in a dilapidated North Melbourne house.

Tragedy had also struck the family a year before.

Pasquale Barbaro.
Pasquale Barbaro.

In 2003, a gangland gunman - in a hit ordered by Carl Williams - shot dead a cousin, another named Pasquale, and Jason Moran at an Auskick clinic.

Joe Barbaro's brother, Pasquale "Pat'' Barbaro was jailed for 30 years as the ringleader of the infamous "Tomato Tins'' ecstasy importation, seized by Australian customs in Melbourne in 2007.

Another relative, Francesco "Little Trees'' Barbaro was named as a member of the Calabrian mafia by the Woodward Royal Commission, which was held following the disappearance of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

anthony.dowsley@news.com.au

Originally published as Notorious Barbaro family caught in mafia's tangled web


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