A reputed Montreal gangster with ties to the Rizzuto crime family was gunned down in a brazen daylight shooting, police said Wednesday.
Agostino Cuntrera, 66, and his 48-year-old bodyguard were shot Tuesday afternoon outside an east-end Montreal restaurant said to be owned by Cuntrera.
Two men in a black Chevrolet Impala similar to one spotted leaving the scene were arrested shortly after the slayings. One of them was released while the other is still being held on unrelated charges, police told AFP.
Cuntrera was believed to have taken over the helm of the Rizzuto clan after the 2006 extradition to the United States of crime boss Vito Rizzuto on murder charges, according to public broadcaster CBC.
Described by local media as being "old school," low-key and shy of the limelight, he is the fourth Mafioso to be murdered since Rizzuto's arrest in 2004.
Vito Rizzuto is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Colorado for racketeering, related to three underworld murders in Brooklyn in 1981.
His father, the family patriarch Niccolo Rizzuto, 85, was arrested in 2006 in a police crackdown on organized crime. He was sentenced to four years in prison and sent to jail along with a number of his associates, though he has since been released under strict monitoring.
The same year, a family friend, Domenico Macri, was killed in a drive-by shooting, prompting the city's wiseguys to enlist bodyguards and start riding in armored limousines. The murder remains unsolved.
In December 2009, Rizzuto's son Nick Rizzuto Jr. was gunned down in broad daylight in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grace district.
An elderly man associated with the powerful Rizzuto mafia was also reported missing in May. Paolo Renda, 70, had been recently released from prison after a serving a sentence for criminal association among other charges, but did not arrive home one night, police sources said.
His wife -- sister of Vito Rizzuto -- found his car near their home and alerted police, who found the car doors open and keys on the dashboard.
Montreal's Sicilian Mafia is facing new competition for criminal spoils from a Calabrese clan, street gangs, and even Haitian groups, according to crime experts.
Each wants a piece of Rizzuto territory, possibly with the backing of the New York Mafia which cut ties to the Rizzuto family after a falling out over the Brooklyn murders.
Born in Sicily in 1944, Cuntrera moved to Canada in 1965 and helped establish the Rizzuto clan's criminal reign in Montreal. He served five years in prison for conspiracy in the 1978 murder of then crime boss Paolo Violli, who headed a rival Calabrese clan.
Upon his release, Cuntrera started several small businesses in Montreal, including restaurants.
He was a cousin of several high-ranking members of the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan considered to be one of the most powerful in the world, having amassed a fortune trafficking Colombian drugs, Andre Noel, crime writer for the Montreal French-language daily La Presse, told AFP.
Gagliano was expelled from the party after a judicial report on a sponsorship scandal placed much of the blame for the misdirection of public funds on him. The Liberals were ousted from power in a 2006 election largely because of the scandal.
Gagliano has denied the corruption allegations and links to the mob.
Source: AFP American Edition