In Montreal QC, Canada 66-year-old Rizzuto crime family leader Agostino Cuntrera and his driver were shot to death this afternoon outside the mobster's wholesale food business Distribution John & Dino as reported by The National Post:
Police said they were looking for a black Chevrolet Impala that witnesses saw leaving the area. * * * * * * He [Cuntrera] was one the most important figures in the organization's drug importation wing, which makes solving his murder all the more complicated, as there will likely be significantly more suspects. * * * In 1978, Mr. Cuntrera proved his loyalty to the Rizzutos when he helped assassinate Paolo Violi, the street boss of the Montreal Mafia and archrival of Nicolo Rizzuto. That murder brought the Rizzutos into power and established them as the most powerful criminal organization in the country. Mr. Cuntrera was sentenced in 1978 to five years in prison for his role in the conspiracy to murder Mr. Violi.
It's been a tough few months for the Rizzuto crime family: last month reputed consigliere Paola Renda apparently was kidnapped off the streets; last December Nick Rizzuto Jr., the son of imprisoned reputed boss Vito Rizzuto, was gunned down; and last August convicted drug trafficker Frederico Del Peschio, a close associate of the family, was murdered. Meanwhile, Vito Rizzuto, serving a 10-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in Florence, CO following his 2007 racketeering conviction involving the 1981 murder of three Bonanno crime family capos in New York City, wants early release.
According to mob watchers "Montreal's Sicilian Mafia is facing new competition for criminal spoils from a Calabrese clan, street gangs, and even Haitian groups" as reported by AFP: "Each wants a piece of Rizzuto territory, possibly with the backing of the New York Mafia which cut ties to the Rizzuto family after a falling out over the Brooklyn murders."
UPDATE: Cuntrera's driver and bodyguard who also was killed in the shooting ambush has been identified as "convicted cocaine trafficker Liborio Sciascia," and police previously had warned Cuntrera of a threat against his life as reported by Peter Edwards and Andrew Chung for The Star: "the aging mafioso responded by stockpiling weapons, purchasing an armoured car, and travelling with a bodyguard." Montreal police now are saying that the double murder "is linked to a turf war between two mafia families" as reported by CTV:
Some experts believe the incident is related to the Calabrian clan, a rival family of the Sicilians. "The Calabrians are from Ontario, and they want to take over the mafia in Montreal," said Andre Cedilot, a former La Presse reporter and organized crime specialist. "They want to take the power back to the Calabrians." * * * Cedilot believes the rivalry between the two families is only heating up. He says there will likely be more bloodshed in 2012 when Vito Rizutto is released from prison.