Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Authorities fear more Montreal mafia murders

Amid unstable times for Montreal’s criminal underworld, this week’s broad daylight killing of a well-known member of the Montreal Mafia will almost certainly bring violent repercussions, organized crime experts say.

So much so that two other convicted Mafia members who were recently released to halfway houses have reportedly been returned behind bars to ensure their own safety.

“The murder of Lorenzo Giordano is certainly to be followed by other ones in the weeks or months to come,” Pierre de Champlain, an author on organized crime, said this week.

After receiving statutory release, Giordano had been living in a halfway house for roughly two months before being shot and killed in a Laval sports centre parking lot Tuesday morning.

Following a lengthy RCMP-led investigation called Projet Colisée, the 52-year-old was arrested in 2007 with five others who had been controlling the Montreal Mafia in the mid-2000s after reputed mob boss Vito Rizzuto’s arrest in 2003.

Two of the other five men — Francesco Arcadi and Francesco Del Balso — received similar releases in February. Media reports, which Correctional Service Canada would not confirm on Thursday, said they were returned to prison this week for their own safety after Giordano was killed.

“An individual is under the surveillance of the CSC until the expiration of their sentence, and that includes while they’re under conditional release,” said Jean-Yves Roy, a spokesperson for the CSC. “The CSC must, at all times, evaluate the level of threats or risks that individuals might be facing.”

In a decision rendered last month, the Parole Board of Canada described Del Balso, 45, as a key member of the Montreal Mafia who was directly involved in corrupting Port of Montreal employees to bring in narcotics, notably cocaine and marijuana.

Police bring Francesco Del Balso, 36 years old, one of the key suspects in a mafia sting was escorted to RCMP headquarters Wednesday, November 22, 2006.

An addicted gambler who became co-owner of a “vast sports gaming network,” the decision says, it’s estimated Del Balso and his accomplices took in $26 million in profit.

Being incarcerated did not initially change his ways, the decision notes, as he was able to recreate a “gang type model” to control “the underground economy within the institution.” He was placed in isolation for threatening and intimating staff members.

And though Del Balso made improvements, the Board ultimately concluded that his values remained the same as when he entered: he was attracted to money, a luxurious lifestyle, power, control and had the “will to use violence to reach his goals.”

Francesco Arcadi, the man police considered Vito Rizzuto’s replacement in the Canadian Mafia, was among the organized crime figures arrested Wednesday November 22, 2006 in Montreal.

If Del Balso slightly changed his ways, the Board decided that Arcadi, 62, hadn’t at all.

“You seem to be the same person you were when you arrived, more than seven years ago,” the Board noted in a separate decision in February.

According to the decision, Arcadi was a highly ranked member of the Montreal Mafia, who despite not being charged with any violent crimes, was often consulted about them before they took place.

“You tell him: Don’t you touch this fellow or I will slit your throat like a goat,” the decision says he once ordered someone.

Arcadi told the Board he wished to live a simple life upon being released. He wanted to garden, raise animals and spend time with his family. He didn’t fear for his safety, though he planned on equipping his residence with a fence and security cameras.

The decision makes reference to how two other men described only as “accomplices” were recently released — an apparent reference to Del Balso and Giordano. It says police allege their releases have already had important repercussions in the criminal underworld, before noting its current state of instability.

That instability comes from the Montreal Mafia living a “moment of great uncertainty,” organized crime expert and author Antonio Nicaso said on Thursday.

“Something has changed,” he said over the phone from Italy. “And it’s a difficult situation to understand, and one that could lead to more violence.”

In November, police alleged that Leonardo Rizzuto, 46, and Stefano Sollecito, 48, were the new heads of the Montreal Mafia. The two were arrested after police investigations that uncovered an important alliance between the Mafia, the Hells Angels and street gangs.

“It’s a complete change in the criminal landscape,” Nicaso said. “A turning point in the Montreal underworld. Something that Montreal has never experienced before.”

The Mafia has spread around the world “like a spider casting its web” because it was able to build relationships with politicians and businessmen that could be used to its benefit, he said.

Its greatest weapon is what Montrealers got a glimpse of during the Charbonneau Commission, Nicaso said: the power of corruption.

Acts of violence, like Tuesday’s killing and its predicted fallout, are not its strength, he added.

They’re instead an obvious sign that something is not right among its ranks.

“When they shoot one another, when there are guns, when there is violence,” Nicaso said, “it’s because there is instability. It’s a sign of weakness. A sign of transition.”



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