Recent Arrests In Spate Of Gangland Killings In Canada Raise Questions

Are international Italian Mafia organizations such as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and Calabrian 'Ndrangheta fighting a mob war by proxy in Canada?

Pierre de Champlain, the acclaimed author and former RCMP analyst, believes that could be a possibility, he noted in a recent tweet, speculating that these global criminal entities may be fighting from abroad to take the drug trafficking business away from organized crime groups in Canada.

If that were the dynamic at play, it's worth noting that the US, despite historically tough anti-drug laws, is known to have the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.

Champlain's speculation was posted on the heels of news that an "alleged hitman" has been arrested, and two others are being sought in connection with two mob killings in Hamilton and York Region last year.

However, none of  those individuals has been linked -- yet, anyway -- to the alleged gangland execution of Albert Iavarone, 50, a local real estate agent and entrepreneur, two weeks back.

Police characterize the killings as part of a violent “power struggle” between organized crime groups in Ontario.

Jabril Hassan Abdalla, 27, was arrested at his home in Hamilton last week and warrants were issued for the arrests of two other Hamilton men: Daniel Tomassetti, 27, and Michael Cudmore, 37. Police believe both fled to Mexico.

All three men are charged with the murders of Angelo Musitano and Mila Barbieri and the attempted murder of Saverio Serrano last year.

The three were allegedly directly involved in the planning and execution of the two hits.

Hamilton police Detective Peter Thom specified that police are still seeking "the masterminds" behind the murders. Police don't believe they know who the three individuals named were working for.

He expects additional charges will be filed.

A “number” of other persons of interest have been identified in the case. Police have alleged

Iavarone was close to two of the accused killers and "very close to one."

Sources say Iavarone was killed in “Mafia retaliation” for the murder of Angelo Musitano in May 2017.

Stephen Metelsky, a criminology professor at Mohawk College who spent more than 20 years as a police officer specializing in organized crime, told a Canadian newspaper that "Iavarone is believed to be connected to the Musitanos."

Iavarone did not have a criminal record, and police have not explained his alleged organized crime ties.

But Metelsky thinks "the similarities" between the murders of Musitano and Iavarone are "more than coincidence."

Meteskly said the public shooting was no accident — the killing served a purpose.

"It's very telling when that person is waiting in the bushes (which happened with Iavarone) to shoot him right near his front door, probably fully knowing he has a wife and two kids," he said.

"It's a huge sign of disrespect and says that this person's life and family are worthless to the underworld ."

Angelo Musitano, 39, was shot at close range several times while in his truck outside his home in the Hamilton suburb of Waterdown sixteen months ago.

Two weeks after Angelo Musitano’s murder, the St. Clair Boulevard home of his older brother, Pasquale (Pat) Musitano, 51, was sprayed with bullets. No one was injured, but the shooting was seen as a warning.

In January, York Region Police said they believe the same hitman who gunned down Musitano also killed veterinary technician Mila Barberi, 28, who was in “the wrong place at the wrong time” two months earlier in Woodbridge.

“We’re confident that there was a link between these two,” Det.-Sgt. Jim Kilby of York Region police said at the time.

Last winter, homicide investigators with York Regional Police and the Hamilton Police Service launched a joint-forces investigation and are seeking public assistance to identify two suspects and two vehicles which have been linked to two homicides, one in the City of Vaughan and the other in the City of Hamilton.

Police have repeatedly alluded to a power struggle among the established Calabrese clans in the GTA and newer ‘NdrĂ ngheta upstarts.