Vito Rizzuto, the alleged "godfather" of Montreal's Mafia, has been ordered extradited to the United States to face charges stemming from the slayings of three U.S. mob captains in 1981.

Rizzuto is charged under U.S. racketeering laws.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler made the decision Wednesday. Rizzuto can appeal the decision.

Although not charged with murder, Rizzuto, 58, is facing charges related to the killings of three U.S. mob captains of the Bonanno family.

Police arrested Rizzuto at his Montreal home last January. He was the only Canadian arrested during a sweep that saw dozens of alleged members of the Bonanno/Massino organized crime family taken into custody in New York.

The RCMP and court documents refer to Rizzuto as the "godfather" of the Montreal Mafia and the police say they consider him to be Canada's most influential member of the powerful Bonanno family of New York.

Rizzuto faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

His lawyers argue Rizzuto shouldn't be extradited because the statute of limitations on the racketeering count ran out 18 years ago.