Unless I am missing something here, Raynald Desjardins, the man accused of first-degree the murder of Salvatore Montagna, the reputed head of the Bonnano Crime Family, is not Italian. So how could he be vying for the title of head of the Mafia in Montreal?
Desjardins, who has multiple schlerosis, was arrested for Montagna’s murder, along with Vittorio Mirarchi, 34, and Felice Racaniello, 27, and Jack Arthur Simpson, 69. Calogero Milioto, 40, and Pietro (Peter) Magistrale, 59 were also arrested in connection with this case, not on a murder charge, but rather on “weapons-related charges.”
Desjardins is a close friend of jailed Vito Rizzuto, the man reputed to have led the Mafia in Montreal until he was extradited to the U.S. in 2006. Rizzuto is currently serving a 10-year prison term there. So if Desjardins was indeed involved in the murder of Montagna, maybe he was acting in the interest of someone else. Rizzuto is a possibility, but who knows what goes on behind closed Mafia doors?
Or maybe Desjardins was just acting in retaliation, because the Canadian police have told the courts that “the plot to kill Montagna began on Sept. 16, the same day someone tried to kill Desjardins in Laval. Desjardins survived the attempt on his life, when a gunman opened fire on two vehicles he and his bodyguard were seated in.”
Either way, the problem of who is in charge of organized crime in Canada is far from being solved.
Stay tuned for further developments.
The link for the article below is at:
Rizzuto lieutenant charged with murder of Mafiaso Salvatore Montagna
Postmedia News Dec 21, 2011 – 9:54 PM ET
By Paul Cherry
JOLIETTE, Que. — Raynald Desjardins appeared remarkably calm for someone facing a first-degree murder charge for the slaying of a former New York mob boss.
The 58-year-old joked with his lawyer, Jonathan Meunier, as he was about to appear before Quebec Court Judge Michel Duceppe at the Joliette courthouse Wednesday morning. Desjardins’s first court appearance lasted only a few minutes, but security at the courthouse was unusually high.
Many members of a Surete du Quebec tactical squad, dressed in plainclothes, were visible outside the courtroom as well as inside. It’s not every day someone is charged with killing a mobster like Salvatore Montagna, a man who was alleged to be the head of the Bonanno crime family in New York when he was deported to Canada, his birthplace, in 2009, after U.S. authorities realized he wasn’t an American citizen.
Duceppe set Jan. 4 as the next court date in the murder case and dealt with a request from Desjardins that he be supplied with a medical device that helps him breathe when he sleeps. Desjardins also said he requires four different types of prescribed medication.
The career criminal’s health problems were also an issue while he was serving 10 years of a 15-year prison term, from 1993 to 2004, for conspiring with the Hells Angels to smuggle more than 5,000 kilograms of cocaine into Canada. He was denied parole several times while serving that sentence, but was granted special escorted leaves to treat his multiple sclerosis.
At the time of his conviction, Desjardins was a close associate of Vito Rizzuto, the man reputed to have led the Mafia in Montreal until he was extradited to the U.S. in 2006. Rizzuto is currently serving a 10-year prison term there.
Appearing with Desjardins in court Wednesday were Vittorio Mirarchi, 34, and Felice Racaniello, 27. A fourth man, Jack Arthur Simpson, 69, will appear at a later date, prosecutor Eric Cote told Duceppe.
Simpson owns the house on Ile Vaudry, an island just east of Montreal, where Montagna, 40, was killed on Nov. 24. Simpson was arrested for an alleged parole violation days after Montagna was killed. He is serving a 28-year sentence for trafficking more than 300 kilograms of cocaine in California.
All four men are charged with the first-degree murder of Montagna and with conspiring to kill the man police believe was aggressively seeking to take control of the Mafia in Montreal.
Cote informed Duceppe that the conspiracy charge in the indictment will be modified to allege that the plot to kill Montagna began on Sept. 16, the same day someone tried to kill Desjardins in Laval. Desjardins survived the attempt on his life, when a gunman opened fire on two vehicles he and his bodyguard were seated in.
Modifying the conspiracy charge is a clear indication investigators believe Desjardins and Montagna were at war in September even though the two men are believed to have tried to achieve a consensus over the summer about who should assume control over the Mafia in Montreal. The crime organization was left without a leader after a major RCMP investigation and the November 2010 murder of Vito Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo.
Cote had no comment about the case after the accused appeared before Duceppe. Meunier, a former prosecutor, and the other defence lawyers also had nothing to say.
Two other men who were arrested Tuesday in the Surete du Quebec investigation into Montagna’s murder were also brought to the Joliette courthouse Wednesday morning. The two men — Calogero Milioto, 40, and Pietro (Peter) Magistrale, 59 — were not charged with murder, but they face a long list of weapons-related charges. The firearms were seized while the provincial police force carried out 16 search warrants on Tuesday. Magistrale is charged with storing at least three loaded 9-mm pistols at an undisclosed location in Laval, Que.