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

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mob enforcer deported from Canada for a third time

Maybe Canada will get lucky on the third try.
Rizzuto mob enforcer Joe Bravo — jailed in 2004 for planning a hit on a fellow mobster — was deported to Spain in April after his 12-year prison term for conspiring to commit murder and importing a tonne of cocaine ended.
The concern now is whether he’ll try to sneak back into Canada as he did twice before after being deported to Europe.
Law enforcement officials expect that’s exactly what he’ll do, sources say.
A theory police sources cite for Bravo itching to return is because he may have a large quantity of money on the street in loans, drugs, gaming and credit card fraud.
He was first ousted in 1999 after a prison term, but sneaked back into the country, and was again deported in 2001.
Bravo, whose real name is Juan Ramon Paz Fernandez, returned soon after his second deportation.
He was repeatedly denied parole while serving his sentence after being arrested in Project R.I.P., a York Regional Police sweep of Vito Rizzuto’s mob operations in the GTA.
Bravo’s prison sentence was to end April 21, but sources say he was sent back to Spain in March.
Antonella DiGirolamo, spokesperson with the Canada Border Service Agency, however said the agency can’t confirm or deny Bravo was removed from Canada.
“In the case of removals, in accordance with the Privacy Act, the CBSA is unable to confirm or deny the removal of any individual,” she stated.
“Protecting the safety of Canadians is a top priority for the CBSA and we place the highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime, crimes against humanity and criminals,” DiGirolamo said in an email.
While Bravo was in jail, the man he was convicted of planning to murder, Constantin “Big Gus” Alevizos, was shot and killed in January 2008 in an execution-style assassination outside the St. Leonard Place halfway house in Brampton.
Alevizos was also convicted in Project R.I.P. for drug related offences and was on a monitored release program when he was murdered.
Peel homicide detectives consider Bravo a “person of interest” in the still unsolved slaying of the hulking 450-pound, 6-foot-6 Alevizos, who was well known on the streets for drug trafficking and ripping off other dealers.
Police suspect the victim, a former CFL prospect, was initially targeted for death in 2001 after the disappearance of a large sum of money — about $700,000 according to federal court documents —belonging to the Rizzuto crime family.
The money vanished shortly after Alevizos’ close friend and boss Gaetano Panepinto, a powerful and respected mobster who also ran a casket store, was assassinated in a mob hit in Etobicoke in October 2000.
While Toronto homicide detectives delved into the murder of Panepinto, which is officially unsolved, York officers worked to determine who replaced Panepinto, who was Rizzuto’s point man in the GTA and had strong ties with area bikers.
Panepinto was apparently murdered in a settling of scores between Rizzuto’s crime family of Montreal and local ‘ndrangheta clans.
Police discovered Bravo ordered a hit on Alevizos and gave a .357-calibre pistol and ammunition — hidden in a sock — to the man he picked for the job. The hitman, however, was a police agent.
But because of the planned hit, York police wrapped up Project R.I.P. sooner than they wanted. They arrested Bravo for conspiring to murder Big Gus, and planning with an unindicted co-conspirator, a Hells Angels Woodbridge chapter member, to import a tonne of cocaine. Another 31 suspects faced drugs, weapons and stolen property charges in the sweep.
Evidence gathered during R.I.P. allowed Quebec police to launch Project Colisee in Quebec that successfully targeted the Rizzuto crime family’s hierarchy.
Peel Det. Dan Johnstone, then with the homicide squad and in charge of the probe into Alevizos’ murder, said in a 2009 interview “it’s not a secret that (Bravo) was convicted of conspiracy to kill Big Gus.
“It’d be quite transparent to anyone in law enforcement ... that (Bravo) would be a person of interest in the murder of Constantin Alevizos,” Johnstone said.
According to federal court documents, Bravo was born in Spain on Dec. 23, 1956, and moved to Canada when he was a young child.
His extensive criminal record begins in 1975 and ends with conspiracy to commit murder and to import a tonne of cocaine. Along the way, he was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his stripper girlfriend and of conspiring while in jail to import eight kilos of hash oil from Jamaica.
In a May 2, 2011, parole board hearing, the board ruled against granting Bravo parole, in part because he boasted of his mob ties when he threatened a prison guard.
The ruling stated Bravo claimed he was in control of the prison and could shut it down if he wanted.
Other guards, the parole board report states, overheard bravo’s threat in prison.
“Several correctional officers witnessed death threats you made to another guard who was attempting to search you,” the report says. “During this incident, you seemed to flaunt your well-established ties to traditional organized crime in an effort to further intimidate the guard — this implies you remain connected to the same criminal lifestyle that enabled your considerable drug dealing activities.”
The report says the guard decided against filing criminal charges against Bravo “for personal reasons.”
In a 2009 ruling, the parole board noted Bravo was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 and “your involvement in traditional organized crime.”
In a 2011 federal court hearing where Bravo sought a judicial review of the parole board’s ruling, court heard he denied his mob ties, but admitted to dealing drugs with the Hells. In giving the police agent the firearm in a sock, he claimed he only wanted the money “that belonged to two friends of ours” collected.



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