RIP Sal the Iron Worker, Former Bonanno Boss

Sal The Iron Work, slain in
Canada, had once been the
acting Bonanno family boss.
Fished out of a river outside Montreal was the body of Sal "The Iron Worker" Montagna, reports CBC News. Cause of death has not yet been determined, but it was likely natural causes -- natural to the line of work he was in, that is.

His name may sound familiar. Sal had his 15 minutes of fame when his move to Long Island in 2009 was widely covered by the New York tabloids -- perhaps because it dovetailed with word that he had assumed the post of acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, or so U.S. authorities had said at the time. He had moved with his wife and three children to Elmont.

I was born and raised in Elmont; my parents still live there. I suppose this is why I have always had an interest in Sal, who was deported to Canada not long after he moved his family into Nassau County, probably to put them farther away from any dangers his "promotion" may have put them in. He was in his mid-30s at the time, so he was probably only in his late 30s when he was murdered.

Montagna's body was found in the Assomption River on Thanksgiving morning, in Charlemagne, northeast of the city of Montreal. "His death is the latest in a series of Mafia-related killings and disappearances over the last two years. Montagna was considered a contender to take over the decimated Rizzuto family," CBC News reports.

Nicknamed The Iron Worker because he owned and operated a successful steel business in the U.S., Montagna was born in Montreal but raised in Sicily. He moved to the United States at 15, but never obtained U.S. citizenship.

The married father of three was deported to Canada from the United States in 2009 because of a conviction for refusing to testify before a grand jury on illegal gambling. He pleaded guilty to the minor charge, but it made him ineligible to stay in the U.S.Because he is a Canadian citizen, Ottawa couldn't refuse his re-entry into the country, and Montagna crossed the border without any trouble, according to CBC News.

His arrival in Montreal occurred just months before members of the Rizzuto family started getting whackedCBC News reports.

The Bonannos have historically had close ties to the Montreal Mafia, stretching back I believe to when Bonanno, whom the family was named after, sent Carmine Galante up there to explore opportunities to use it as a base from which to smuggle heroin into the U.S.

"There had been speculation that Montagna had been part of the new Mafia leadership in Montreal and was trying to reorganize the leaderless group," CBC News reports. It makes sense; we know Sal must have had Mafia managerial capability; after all he had been promoted to boss of one of the Five Families while only in his 30s.

His death comes just two months after another man with Mafia ties, Raynald Desjardins, narrowly escaped death in a shooting also just outside Montreal. Desjardins had close ties to Vito Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia who is currently imprisoned in the United States.

A rash of killings and disappearances in late 2009 and early 2010 decimated the Rizzuto family's operation; Vito also had been robbed of his closest family members: Rizzuto's father and son were gunned down, as were other friends, while his brother-in-law simply vanished, reports CBC News.

"Montagna became the latest name on the list," CBC News says.

Here's the rest of Sal's story:

A provincial police spokesman said Thursday that a private citizen called authorities just after 10 a.m., having spotted a body along the shores of the Assomption River, northeast of Montreal.

The same person also reported to local police that he heard gunshots, but Sgt. Benoît Richard said he couldn't confirm just how the victim died.

"When [police] arrived, they saw a man lying near the river, they took him out of the water and started doing CPR with the help of the emergency personnel," Richard said.

"The man was transported to the nearest hospital where he was pronounced dead."

Richard said police will await the results of an autopsy, scheduled for Friday, to determine the cause of death.

There is no word regarding whether his family went to Canada with him. We hope they are well and living in Elmont, which was a nice town in which to have a childhood.

Read the entire original article: Mafia boss killed in Montreal region - Montreal - CBC News: