Cops Nab Mobsters Who Whacked "The Ironworker'

Raynald Desjardins is escorted into SQ headquarters Tuesday after his arrest in connection with the Nov. 24 shooting death of Salvatore Montagna, who was killed in Ile Vaudry, a small island south of the municipality of Charlemagne, near Repentigny. Police say Montagna was attempting to take over the mafia in Montreal.

Photograph by: RADIO-CANADA, .

Sal "The Ironworker" Montagna, former Bonanno boss deported from the U.S. to Canada back in 2009, was killed as part of a power play for control of the Montreal Mafia -- apparently following the collapse of a fragile coalition of which Montagna had been part. The man believed to be behind the hit on Montagna is a confederate of Vito Rizzuto, the once-powerful Montreal mob boss now sitting in an American prison.

Police say they have "destabilized the already volatile world of organized crime in Montreal with the arrest of five men [reports vary regarding the exact number of those arrested] in the slaying of a major Mafia boss last month," reports the Globe & Mail.

Raynald Desjardins, a convicted mobster linked to the Rizzuto crime family, who himself survived an attempt on his life in September, was among the arrested and is believed to be the prime mover and shaker behind the assassination of Montagna.

Sal "the Ironworker" -- his killers
reportedly have been arrested, in
less than a month from his death.
Desjardins is to face first-degree murder charges in the shooting death last month of Montagna, who was found shot in the L’Assomption River off the northeastern tip of Montreal.

According to the Montreal Gazette: The two men were believed to have been part of a small group that had tried -- and, obviously, failed --  to reach a consensus over who should assume control of Montreal.

"The fragile collective apparently fell apart when someone tried to kill Desjardins near his home in Laval on Sept. 16," the Gazette reports. 

Police did not offer a detailed theory or connect all the dots behind the Montagna killing and wider mob troubles in Montreal, but the  notes that Montagna’s slaying is one of the latest in a series of Mafia-related killings and disappearances amid an ongoing power struggle that has intensified since Rizzuto was jailed in 2007.

"Several killings and disappearances in late 2009 and early 2010 have robbed [Rizzuto] of many of his closest family members and allies," the reports.

Rizzuto is due to be released in mid-2012.

“There have been numerous acts of violence which were undertaken on different factions throughout the Greater Montreal area and police agencies were on the trail of everyone,” Insp. Michel Forget tells the

“We can’t tell you if they’re linked with each other but there are many elements that led us to the arrests we’ve made today.”

Desjardins was not injured in the ambush, which occurred prior to Montagna's killing.

Montagna was shot to death on Nov. 24 inside or as he exited a home that belongs to Jack Arthur Simpson, 69, who is serving a 28-year sentence for trafficking cocaine.

Simpson, who was arrested in Ottawa for a parole violation a few days after Montagna was killed, is now to be charged with plotting to kill Montagna, the Sûreté du Québec said Tuesday, the Gazette reports.

"Montagna’s death and now Mr. Desjardins’s arrest remove from action two men seen as pretenders to the leadership of the Montreal Mafia, which has been in turmoil amid a succession of slayings and disappearances," reports the  Globe & Mail.

Desjardins was regarded as a rising figure in the mob; court evidence has repeatedly tied him to drug-trafficking plots involving Vito Rizzuto, identified in court documents as the "godfather of the Montreal Mafia." Rizzuto is behind bars in the U.S. in a sentence that is up in October next year.

“More than ever, the Mafia finds itself without leadership,” André Noël, an investigative journalist and co-author of the book Mafia Inc., The Long, Bloody Reign of Canada’s Sicilian Clan, tells the Globe. “It is really destabilized.”

Mr. Desjardins was one of the few "so-called old-stock Quebeckers to gain the trust of the Italian Mafia’s inner circle, according to Mr. Noël and co-author André Cédilot."

“Desjardins wasn’t Italian, which prevented him, of course, from ever becoming a made member of the Mafia,” the authors write. “But his wealth, charisma, extensive criminal experience and impressive network of contacts made him a very powerful figure.”

Tuesday’s arrests marshalled the efforts of 200 police officers from the Sûreté du Québec, RCMP, as well as municipal police forces in Montreal and area.

The others arrested were Vittorio Mirarchi, 34, and Felice Racaniello, 27. Police did not name the two others. Police also said they would arrest a sixth man, Jack Simpson, who is already in jail.

Read the full articles at Globe & MailMontreal

Other articles:
4 charged with murder of Mafia boss - Montreal - CBC News

Rizzuto lieutenant charged with murder of Mafiaso Salvatore Montagna | News | National Post

Arrests in case of murdered mob boss | Canada | News | London Free Press