Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prosecutors drop Montreal Mafia cases in Project Clemenza

Crown lawyers have walked away from charges against 35 associates of the Montreal Mafia. The development is a setback for a large prosecution, but it allows federal authorities to avoid questions about police surveillance gear.

Criminal defence lawyers raised a litany of questions about how the RCMP got inside their client's smartphones. The suspects had been trying to escape scrutiny by using multiple BlackBerrys not in their own names to send each other encoded messages. The Crown resisted disclosing the methods.
The Quebec Superior Court rejected the Crown’s claim that police were not legally required to reveal the techniques. That led to the first ever public disclosures that Canadian police were using machines called IMSI catchers that imitate cellphone towers and can trick smartphones in a targeted area into giving up information that identifies the devices.
Police obtained a judicially authorized “assistance order” in 2011 that required BlackBerry Ltd to enter into a kind of a partnership with the RCMP. Copies of messages the suspects had sent via their phones believing they were secure were relayed to authorities as they transited the company’s corporate servers. Police unscrambled the messages with a global decryption key.

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Ex-fighter 'War Machine' found guilty on 29 of 34 charges

Former Bellator and UFC veteran War Machine (born Jonathan Koppenhaver) has been found guilty on 29 of the 34 charges he faced – most notably of sexual assault, battery and kidnapping.

Koppenhaver's 2014 attack on Christy Mack (real name Christine Mackinday) and her then boyfriend Corey Thomas left Mack with a broken nose, a fractured eye socket, a broken rib, a lacerated liver and extensive bruising. Mackinday suffered 18 broken bones. She was also left without many of her teeth
Koppenhaver assaulted Thomas with such severity that Mack believed the former fighter was going to kill him. Mack also claimed that the ex-fighter threatened to send his Hells Angels friends after her if he ended up in jail.

The 35-year-old could potentially receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole at his sentencing hearing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cocaine shipped to Canada in pineapple concentrate

The opening day of a cocaine trafficking trial heard that $6 million worth was being smuggled in pineapple juice bottles shipped to Costa's Wine Country in Hamilton in December 2015.

Costa's Wine owners Jose (Joe) and Erika Costa, and Reilly's 2000 Wholesale Foods owner Tullio Dintino are on trial on charges of trafficking in cocaine, importing it from Costa Rica, and conspiring to traffic and import cocaine.
On December 18th, 2015 Canadian Borders Services Agency officers in Halifax tested some bottles or jugs in a shipping container from Costa Rica for possible cocaine. The container had 1,128 boxes each containing four 3.78 litre-jugs of pineapple juice and pulp.

When the results came back positive, a full inspection ensued, leading the RCMP to estimate 1,440 bottles contained cocaine — 129 were actually tested — and the whole shipment contained 100 kilograms of cocaine.

HA associate Shawn 'Football' Womacks should get 10 years for Cocaine Conspiracy

Shawn Womacks was caught red-handed as he unpacked what he thought was cocaine from a Martha Stewart box at a Burnaby warehouse in 2012. The Crown says the 45-year-old career criminal should spend 10 years in jail for his role in the international drug deal involving full-patch Hells Angels David Giles and Bryan Oldham.

While Womacks wasn’t one of the leaders of the conspiracy, his role was significant. Womacks was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking. “The Crown’s submission is that Mr. Womacks played an important role as he was the final actor that brought the highly valued 200 kilograms of cocaine into the hands of the group of accused.”

The sale was the first in a reverse sting sale of a proposed 500 kilograms of cocaine at a price of $14.8 million.
Womacks, along with Kelowna Hells Angels vice-president David Giles and sergeant at arms Bryan Oldham and HA associate James Howard, were convicted last September in the drug case that the RCMP dubbed E-Predicate. The police received a $4-million down payment from Kevin Van Kalkeren, who received 16 years, then delivered a kilo of real cocaine and 199 kilos of fake product to the Burnaby warehouse.
Womacks' lawyer says his lengthy criminal history is related to decades of substance abuse stemming from a troubled childhood.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Face of a Killer

IHIT released footage Friday of the suspect in the March 13th murder of gangster Birinderjeet Bhangu outside a Surrey hotel.
Bhangu, 29, was a well-known gangster. He had a criminal record dating back more than a decade. He had just parked his Acura in front of the Comfort Inn Hotel when the suspect walked over to the driver’s side of Bhangu’s car and started shooting.

The killer was driving a Nissan Pathfinder that was recovered in Kelowna the next day.

117, 104 Fentanyl deaths in B.C. January, February

Calling fentanyl a cross-Canada scourge, a judge sent two dealers of the deadly opioid to the penitentiary for extended terms. "Its abuse has reached epidemic proportions," Justice Michael Epstein said. "It has taken a terrible toll on the lives of those who abuse it and has resulted in hundreds of deaths."

Epstein sent Richard Shevalier, 47, to prison for eight years and Alexandra Clark, 31, for 43 months. Shevalier and Clark were found guilty of possession of fentanyl and meth for the purpose of trafficking and possession of heroin and cocaine.
Epstein referred to comments made the head of the drugs and firearms branch of Waterloo Regional Police. In 2015, regional police seized two grams of powdered fentanyl. Last year, they seized more than 600 grams.

"There has been a major increase in this region in the number of medical calls relating to drug overdoses recently," the judge added. In January 2016, there were 13 calls. In January 2017, the number jumped to 64.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mafioso Nicola Di Marco whacked in Montreal

The man found murdered this morning in the Anjou district is Nicola 'Big Nick' Di Marco. In 2011 Di Marco was sentenced to more than four years in a penitentiary for possession of a 9mm pistol and for operating a gambling house. In the Clemenza anti-mafia raid conducted by the RCMP Di Marco was again arrested for attempting to smuggle narcotics into prison for his former boss, clan leader Giuseppe De Vito.

Di Marco was considered a 'high-level intermediary of the mafia'. This latest milestone in the Montreal mafia hit parade follows the attempted murder of clan leader Salvatore Scoppa on February 21.

Nicola Di Marco at his sentence hearing on April 1, 2011
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Internal HA rumble in Thailand

Taksin Monthontaksin, 39, sergeant at arms, revealed that he was attacked and injured by 4-5 Australian members of 'Hells Angels Pattaya'. The incident took place on March 7, 2017.

Monthontaksin and other Thai members were attacked by the Australians. It is very rare for internal Hells Angels affairs to be aired in the press. Police in Phuket ramped up security measures geared toward international biker members following the gunpoint abduction and murder of Australian Hells Angel Wayne Schneider in Pattaya.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Burly mourners carry coffin of slain Hells Angels bikie Kemel 'Blackie' Barakat

Hundreds of mourners gathered to farewell Hells Angel bikie associate Kemel ‘Blackie’ Barakat who was shot dead in his bed as he slept. More than a dozen bullets found their mark.

Police are investigating whether Barakat was killed for his role in the brazen public shooting of hitman Hamad Assaad in October. Barakat, who was a senior member in the Comancheros before switching allegiances, was thought to be the prime suspect in Assaad's death.
Slain hitman Hamad Assaad, 29, bragged about being an 'executioner'.

Ten underworld figures have been killed in Sydney since 2015.
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6 Hells Angels Arrested on Drug, Gang Charges

Six members and associates of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in the Hudson Valley have been arrested on drug and racketeering charges. All six are members of the New Roc Hells Angels, which authorities say primarily operates in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

Charges include narcotics trafficking, extortion, money laundering and prostitution. Activities included contraband cigarettes and stolen car parts.

Police say members of the New Roc Hells Angels beat a rival motorcycle gang member over the head with a hammer in a Poughkeepsie restaurant in retaliation for encroaching on their territory.
Thomas Schmidt of Staten Island; Joseph Kaplan of Valhalla; John "Uncle" Calvacchio of Kent; Jeff Amato of Mamaroneck and Gary Paganelli of Cortlandt Manor were arrested in New York Thursday morning, while California resident Michael Piccione was arrested near Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Montreal cop who sold information to Hells Angel denied full parole

Benoît Roberge, the disgraced former Montreal police detective who was caught selling information to the Hells Angels, has been turned down in his request for full parole. He continues to serve a sentence of more than seven years. The Parole Board of Canada made the decision earlier this week.

Roberge’s secrets came to light after René (Balloune) Charlebois escaped from a federal penitentiary in Laval on Sept. 14, 2013, and committed suicide 12 days later. Before he died Charlebois gave a series of 10 recordings to a friend revealing information that touched on three separate drug-trafficking investigations involving members of the Hells Angels that were ongoing at the time.
An investigation revealed that Roberge received $125,000 for providing information to the Hells Angels. Most of the money was recovered. On March 13, 2014, he pleaded guilty to participating in or contributing to the activities of a criminal organization and to committing a breach of trust as a police officer. He was sentenced to an overall prison term of eight years. Nomads chapter in happier times. - A group photo taken while they celebrated Charlebois's wedding.
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Francesco 'chit' Del Balso out and about

Francesco Del Balso, a strong man of the Rizzuto mafia clan, has returned to freedom with an electronic bracelet around his ankle. After spending more than nine years behind bars and nine months in a half-way house, the 46-year-old Montreal mafioso returned home in late January, agreeing to submit to the exceptional surveillance measure.

Del Balso informed the Parole Board of Canada in May 2016 that he feels his life is not in danger even though a great many of his associates have been executed. Lorenzo Giordano and Rocco Sollecito were both riddled with bullets and correctional authorities even took the decision to bring Del Balso back to the penitentiary for his own safety.

Del Balso was one of six interim leaders of the Rizzuto organization. Today, only two of these six are still alive: Del Balso and Francesco Arcadi. Arcadi, 62, received one of the lengthiest sentences in Project Colisée and is due for release soon. When he is released from a federal penitentiary he must reside at a halfway house for the next three years.

The complete decimation of the Sicilian mob in Montreal would have been unthinkable to Godfather Vito Rizzuto. He died on December 23, 2013 from complications of lung cancer at a Montreal hospital. He was 67

Vito Rizzuto
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fentanyl Sentences Rising - 3.5 years for 138 pills

A Saskatoon man caught with 138 fentanyl pills in his home and garage has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Nathan Arthur Marsland, 28, pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking. His remaining charges — including several weapons offences and possession of methamphetamine and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking — were stayed in exchange for the plea.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled that given the devastating impact of the fentanyl crisis, those convicted of trafficking the drug should face tougher sentences. The current sentencing range is between six and 12 months in prison. A panel of B.C. Court of Appeal judges said a sentence of between 18 and 36 months is more suitable.
In a written decision issued earlier this week, the justices highlighted the enormity of the crisis. "Fentanyl is a scourge. It poses intolerable risks." In January, Walter James McCormick — who already had an extended history of drug trafficking — was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

A Victoria pharmacy that provides free testing of street drugs has found more than 90 per cent of the samples it has tested contain some amount of fentanyl.
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Montreal Gangster not going to murdered Brother's Funeral

Mihale Leventis, 40, is awaiting a trial on five charges related to 2012's Operation Loquace
Mihale Leventis, 40, is waiting for a trial on cocaine trafficking in Quebec, during which an informant working for the police handled more than 500 kilograms of cocaine and $14 million. The police seized more than 100 kilograms of cocaine. The ring brought 75 kilos of cocaine to Canada every week.

More than 100 arrests were made in Operation Loquace, on Nov. 1, 2012, with the SQ alleging Leventis was one of six men who formed a consortium that organized the distribution of the cocaine. The network had ties to the Hells Angels and the West End Gang.

At least 67 people out of 90 charged have been convicted in the case. Leventis recently filed a Jordan motion arguing the charges against him should be stayed because he has waited too long for his trial.

Pieces of Frederic Lavoie, 31, were found on May 12, 2014 in the town of Sabaneta, 300 km northwest of Bogota. His remains were found on a street inside four garbage bags that were leaking blood.

Lavoie's accomplice, Timoleon Psiharis, 29, was tortured, doused with acid and beaten to death in Greece in 2012. Psiharis's bound body was found in a ditch.
Well-known gangster and 'Wolfpack' member Rabih Alkhalil is charged for a Toronto hit and is facing a first-degree murder charge for the high-profile execution of rival Sandip Duhre in downtown Vancouver in January 2012.