Crippling investigations, the imprisonment of reputed boss Vito Rizzuto, and the assassination last December of Vito's son Nick Rizzuto Jr. have left the Montreal Mafia rudderless -- if only temporarily -- as reported by Paul Cherry for The Montreal Gazette:
Some investigators have mentioned Agostino Cuntrera, 66, as someone who allegedly has stepped up into a leadership role in the Montreal Mafia. Cuntrera's only criminal conviction is a significant one as he was sentenced to five years in 1978 for taking part in the murder of mob boss Paolo Violi, a slaying that allowed Rizzuto to gradually take control of the Montreal Mafia. A few police sources interviewed by The Gazette allege Cuntrera appears to be acting as a sort of street boss, a role limited to whatever remains of the Rizzuto organization in eastern Montreal. Others are doubtful and counter that such a role goes against Cuntrera's nature. They describe him as a reluctant leader and not someone who seeks attention. "Right now nobody seems to want to take charge of the Mafia because all the major players are in jail or in a very critical position. But I don't think that is going to last forever," said Antonio Nicaso, Canadian author of several books on organized crime. "Many other members in the Mafia are trying to regroup and take advantage of this period of weakness for the Rizzuto organization. It's a very complicated situation," Nicaso said.