Fri, Jul 02, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Mobster gunned down in Montreal

BROAD DAYLIGHT Agostino Cuntrera was believed to have taken over the helm of the Rizzuto clan after the 2006 extradition to the US of crime boss Vito Rizzuto


A reputed Montreal gangster with ties to the Rizzuto crime family was gunned down in a brazen daylight shooting, police said on Wednesday.

Agostino Cuntrera, 66, and his 48-year-old bodyguard were shot on 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 was being held on unrelated charges, police said.

Cuntrera was believed to have taken over the helm of the Rizzuto clan after the 2006 extradition to the US of crime boss Vito Rizzuto on murder charges, public broadcaster CBC said.

Described by local media as “old school,” low-key and shy of the limelight, he is the fourth mafioso to be murdered since Rizzuto’s arrest in 2004.

Rizzuto is 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 mafiosi to enlist bodyguards and start riding in armored limousines.

The murder remains unsolved.

Last December, Vito 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 Rizzuto family 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.

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