5 high-profile Montreal mob murders

The city's crime families have made numerous hits over the years

Nicola Rizzuto (Graham Hughes/CP Images)

Montreal has witnessed numerous Mob hits as the city’s crime families have battled for control over the decades.
Here are five that stand out:

1. Paolo Violi, 38: Since the 1950s, Montreal’s Cotroni family was the foremost Mafia clan in Canada, controlling swaths of territory across Ontario and Quebec. Until the ’70s, that is, when the Sicilian faction of the clan, headed by Nicolo Rizzuto, usurped them in a violent war for Canadian Mafia dominance. The conflict culminated in the 1978 murder of Paolo Violi, who led the Cotroni faction. He was shot dead during a card game in a Montreal café that January.

2. Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., 40: Nick Jr., the eldest child of Vito “Teflon Don” Rizzuto and grandson of the Rizzuto clan patriarch, was gunned down in a residential street in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood in December 2009. The brazen hit in broad daylight was perceived as an unprecedented challenge to Rizzuto rule in Montreal. Recent police investigations in Canada and the U.S. had weakened the family by landing several key members—including Nicolo Sr. and his son Vito—behind bars.

3. Agostino Cuntrera, 66: In June 2010, Agostino Cuntrera, a powerful Rizzuto associate implicated in the 1978 murder of Paolo Violi, was shot to death with his bodyguard outside his wholesale food warehouse in the St-Léonard area of Montreal. Just one month earlier, Vito Rizzuto’s brother-in-law went missing. Cuntrera’s assassination was taken as evidence of a concerted effort to supplant the Rizzuto clan in Montreal’s criminal underworld.

4. Nicolo Rizzuto, 86: Sitting at the kitchen table of his Montreal mansion, Nicolo Rizzuto was shot and killed with his wife and daughter nearby by a sniper who sent a bullet through a double-paned door in November 2010. He was the key figure in his family’s rise to Mafia power.

5. Salvatore Montagna, 40: The Montreal native became a powerful figure in the New York Mafia after a string of arrests in the mid-2000s. After the U.S. government forced him back to Canada in 2009, he is thought to have played a role in the killings of Rizzuto clan members. In November 2011, Montagna’s body was pulled from a frigid river north of Montreal. A man alleged to be a close associate of Vito Rizzuto was charged with murder.

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