The Clemenza investigation by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) was the largest anti-mafia investigation since Operation Colisée that targeted the Rizzuto crime family back in 2006.
It produced arrests of individuals linked to the Montreal mafia from 2014-2016 on various charges including drug trafficking, weapons possession, and kidnapping. But according to a recent report from La Presse the Federal Crown is now set to drop the charges against 36 individuals arrested during the investigation. Convictions from the case could have significantly impacted the mafia in Montreal according to police sources.
Prosecutors plan to continue charges against 11 individuals that were arrested for cocaine trafficking and gangsterism during the later stages of the operation in 2016. Many defendants linked to the clan of now deceased mafia leader Giuseppe De Vito are believed to benefit from the halt in the charges against them including Davide Barberio. According to the report, Vittorio Mirarchi an associate of imprisoned mob leader Raynald Desjardins who is awaiting sentencing for the murder of mobster Salvatore Montagna may also be in line to benefit from this collapse. Another key player in the current Montreal mob landscape Liborio Cuntrera the son of former Rizzuto family leader Agostino Cuntrera will also have the charges against him dropped.
The Clemenza investigation also called Project Clemenza was mainly built on evidence in the form of millions of text messages between the suspects mainly on Blackberry devices between 2010-2011. These pin to pin messages were intercepted by members of the RCMP using a sophisticated surveillance device. It is believed that the disclosure of evidence relating to these techniques of the investigation and the interception of these communications is not unrelated to the recent decision to suspend the judicial proceedings against the defendants. The prosecution still has the possibility to bring new charges against these defendants within the next year.
As the bloody Montreal mafia war continues many now wonder what impact this recent development may have on the conflict.