BlackBerry Texts Depict More Details of Montagna Murder

The RCMP launched a 16-month surveillance operation against Raynald Desjardins and seven associates one day after the murder of Salvatore Montagna, the former Bonanno crime family street boss.
Undated photo of Desjardins.

The RCMP launched a 16-month surveillance operation against Raynald Desjardins and seven associates one day after the murder of Salvatore Montagna, the former Bonanno crime family street boss.

"The Iron Worker" had been shot three times, allegedly by elderly gangster Jack Simpson with whom Montagna was meeting, and died on a snowswept river bank outside Montreal.

At the time of the murder, Desjardins was warmly ensconced in his alibi, eating breakfast with his daughter.

Yesterday, there was a hearing regarding the Montagna hit, and a news ban was lifted; Canadian news outlets have been reporting new information regarding the shooting ever since.

Many reports are focused on how a series of Blackberry messages fueled the downfall of Desjardins and his accomplices.

Some of this information was released in January 2012, however, when it was first reported that Quebec police had used BlackBerry messages to investigate  Montagna's assassination.

Mobsters love their Blackberry messaging system.

It was noted here at the time that "Incriminating messages sent by one of the suspects, Vittorio Mirarchi, a businessman with alleged ties to the mafia, led to the arrests" of Desjardins and other suspects in the killing of Montagna.

it was further reported in January 2012 that the men were able to access Montagna's cell phone and track his movements, as well as any messages sent to and from his device. But the Desjardins crew was unaware that the RCMP had tapped their phones as well, which led to Desjardins' arrest in December 2011.

Desjardins is expected to be sentenced this fall.

The ban lifted, the RCMP has filled in some missing pieces in the Montagna story.

Following the October 2011 attempt on Desjardins' life, Montagna was followed by a team of mobsters "who knew almost every move he made while he was being betrayed by a cloned smartphone," the Montreal Gazette reported.

Desjardins ally  Vittorio Mirarchi in 2011 surveillance photo.

As noted Montagna had made an alliance with Desjardins as part of his larger effort to take over Montreal, possibly for Calabrian drug traffickers allied with Mexican Cartels. The all-important Port of Montreal was the main asset Montanga supposedly was seeking to take control of.

The Gazette reported today that, only months after "The Iron Worker" had arrived in Montreal, Desjardins, 62, was no longer on probation following a 15-years prison sentence.

"Desjardins likely resented Montagna’s arrival in the city just before his conditions were about to expire."

Desjardins and Montagna developed a "consortium of influential men who (worked together to try) to take control of the Mafia in Montreal from the Rizzuto organization."

But problems quickly arose when Desjardins and Montagna began arguing over who would control profitable mob mainstays of loansharking and bookmaking.

It seems that whether Montagna wanted Desjardins dead or not, Desjardings was going to kill Montagna and/or the Arcuri brothers. The former Rizzuto loyalist probably had decided that the moment Montagna arrived in Montreal.

Desjardins had joined with Vittorio Mirarchi, 38, "a Montrealer who had no criminal record but was already an underworld force to be reckoned with," the Gazette reported.

"In 2011, while investigating Mirarchi in an unrelated affair, the RCMP managed to intercept and decipher the BlackBerry messages Mirarchi and his associates were sending to each other. Like the rest of the world, Mirarchi and Desjardins believed the PIN-to-PIN messages they were exchanging could not be read by anyone else.    
"By the summer of 2011, Mirarchi and Desjardins were referring to Montagna using derogatory nicknames like “Mickey Mouse” and “Tin Man." They were also monitoring his movements."

Noted the Montreal Gazette:

Desjardins was in Europe on July 23, 2011, when he asked Mirarchi to update him on events in Montreal. Mirarchi noted that Montagna and his family had spent the previous night at the Sofitel, a luxury hotel in downtown Montreal. 
Mirarchi also noted that, “The Sauces r up to some thing not sure what but I’m on it.” It was an apparent reference to Rocco Sollecito (who was murdered in Laval this past May 27) and his son Stefano. Both have often been referred to by the nickname “Sauce.” Police believe Rocco Sollecito remained loyal to the Rizzuto organization while Montagna and Desjardins tried to push it aside. 
“City is (quiet) but everyone’s in a panic mode,” Mirarchi wrote.

“More I see (Montagna’s) afraid (of) something or us or v (likely a reference to Vito Rizzuto’s supporters),” Desjardins replied before expressing concern he was not there to back up Mirarchi. “K but please be careful if (Montagna) know (you’re) alone (and) I’m not there he will try to get (you).”

Desjardins then recommended Mirarchi “put j in back of you he’s got a lot of experience.” It was likely a reference to Desjardins’s own bodyguard, Jonathan Mignacca.

When August arrived Desjardins was still in Europe and the updates Mirarchi sent indicate he had met with people who did not want to work with Montagna. By Aug. 9, it appeared Montagna had stepped up the pressure and was ordering more and more people who were paying the Rizzuto organization — for protection while they operated various illegal schemes — to pay him instead. “At the end of the day he’s taking what they had and saying it’s all his. It’s ok (patience),” Mirarchi wrote in an exchange of messages sent that day.  
Later, during the same exchange, Desjardins compared his and Mirarchi’s group to Montagna’s and wrote: “This f–king (playing games) all the time with us (and) we r the cream of the crop compare(d) to them (and) we got good guys around us which he will never have.”

Three weeks later, on Aug. 30, 2011, Mirarchi associate Calogero Milioto, 45, (who was among the men who pleaded guilty to the Montagna murder conspiracy) was approached by a Montagna’s loyalist about the contract murder of Desjardins.

The move smelled of  desperation to Desjardins, who speculated that Montagna would next try to cause a rift between Desjardins himself and Mirarchi.
“Lol let’s get to work,” Mirarchi replied.

“I’m ready,” Desjardins texted.

On Sept. 6, 2011, Desjardins and Mirarchi discussed killing the Arcuri brothers Domenico and Antonino, who, based on evidence, had turned against the Rizzuto organization and teamed up with Montagna.

Desjardins and Mirarchi believed if the brothers went bye-bye, Montagna would lose major support.

Two days later, on Sept. 8, 2011, Mirarchi was ready to make a move on at least one of the Arcuri brothers. 

Antonino was “back to work” and therefore easy to locate, he messaged Desjardins.

“R we doing him today to (end) with (one) at least,” Desjardins asked.

Mirarchi replied that one of his men was following Arcuri that day. He nixed the idea, noting that Arcuri’s office was replete a security camera.

Montagna struck first.

On Sept. 16, 2011, Desjardins was inside his BMW X5, talking to his bodyguard, Joseph Mignacca, seated in another parked vehicle.

The ensuing gunfight took place in broad daylight in Laval, Quebec.

A man emerged from a location nearby and opened fire with an AK47. Mignacca used a Glock semi-automatic pistol to return fire. Apparently he let loose enough of a barrage to send the gunman fleeing. Mignacca later tossed the pistol into a nearby river and tried to flee through nearby woods.

Police arrested him when he later emerged, not far from the scene of the shooting.

The other gunman who first opened fire has never been arrested. He escaped across the Rivière des Prairies apparently on a "Sea Doo" -- a kind of speedboat (this must be the first time in Mafia history that a Mafia assassin escaped on a vehicle with that name). The mystery shooter set the watercraft afire before abandoning it on the Montreal side.

A judge later noted that Mignacca “chose Omerta” when the police questioned him about the shooting. Mignacca was later convicted of several counts related to discharging the weapon that day, and was sentenced to a six-year prison term.

Five minutes after the shooting, Desjardins’s BMW was found by police at a construction site where he was seen speaking with Gino Di Paola, 38, and Giuseppe Bertolo, the brother of Giovanni Bertolo, a Mafia-tied union representative with the Quebec Federation of Labour who was murdered in 2005.

Desjardins was detained but was allowed to use his smartphone. Desjardins had asked if he could call his lawyer.

"The investigation later revealed he actually called Domenico Arcuri. The call lasted 29 seconds," the Gazette reported.

Based on a message Bertolo later sent to Mirarchi, the 29-second phone call Desjardins made to Domenico Arcuri was to tell him:
“I know it’s you. And I won’t miss you.”