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Saturday, 26 July 2008

Three shootings in less than two hours in St. Léonard and Rivière des Prairies are being investigated as conflict between a street gang and the Mafia


08:25 |

Three shootings in less than two hours in St. Léonard and Rivière des Prairies are being investigated as a possible conflict between a street gang and the Montreal Mafia.Police sources said yesterday the first man shot has ties to a street gang. They suspect the two shootings that followed were done in retaliation.All three victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.The first shooting occurred around 9 p.m. at Le Ritz, a bar with a checkered past on Lacordaire Blvd. in St. Léonard.
"The victim went inside the café and after a short discussion with people ... inside, he was shot," Montreal police Constable Raphaël Bergeron said.The man crashed through the bar's front window to escape and jumped into a waiting car. He was driven to a hospital, where staff alerted police they had a patient who had been shot.No one inside the bar called 911 and when officers eventually arrived at Le Ritz, they found it deserted, its front door unlocked.The 30-year-old man who was wounded in the shooting is a known drug trafficker with a lengthy criminal record. Last year, he was sentenced to 14 days in prison and three years' probation after pleading guilty to being part of a drug trafficking ring tied to the Bo Gars gang. The ring controlled drug trafficking in a neighbourhood close to Le Ritz.Le Ritz has been identified in the past as more of a drug den than a bar, where the door was controlled by an electronic lock and customers were buzzed in.
In 2006, the Régie des alcools suspended the bar's licence for four months after Montreal police said undercover agents purchased cocaine there. One police source said yesterday that investigators were having a hard time finding out who owns the bar.after the shooting at Le Ritz, a young man dressed in dark clothing stormed into Café-bar Mare e Mondo on Maurice Duplessis Blvd. in Rivière des Prairies.
"He fired several shots (into) various parts of (the café) and left the scene," Bergeron said.A 36-year-old man was struck in the stomach and taken to hospital. Bergeron said the victim is not known to police.
Mare e Mondo has reputed ties to the Mafia. It was opened in 1997 by Giuseppe Torre, 37, an alleged drug trafficker arrested in Projet Colisée, the 2006 roundup of suspected Mafia leaders and associates. Court documents show that although the bar changed ownership in 2000, Torre referred to it on wiretaps in 2005.The third shooting was less than an hour after Mare e Mondo came under fire. A 19-year-old man was struck in the leg as he sat in a vehicle parked behind another café on Maurice Duplessis."The victims in the second and third shooting are not known to the police at all," Bergeron said. "They were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time."


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