Friday, 19 May 2017

A mob hit by fellow gangsters

There is a real advantage of being the boss of a gang. You get a larger amount of the money that comes to the gang and you don’t have to take shit from anyone in the gang. There is a disadvantage that over shadows the advantage. That is being assassinated by another gangster. We can’t say this is uncommon.                                                   

Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia was the brutal and violent head of the Mangano/Gambino family mob. He was murdered while sitting in his barber’s chair with a hot cloth over his face while being shaved by his barber. His bodyguard had conveniently taken a walk when two masked gunmen burst into the shop and opened fire on Anastasia. They continued to shoot him until he fell to the floor dead. Then they shot him point blank in the back of his head. It is believed that brothers Larry and Joe Gallo carried out the murder under a contract from Don Vito Genoves, another mob boss.

Paul “Big Paul” Castellano had become jealous of John Gotti’s drug dealing and threatened to kill anyone involved with narcotics. He had also acquired enemies when he did not attend the funeral of Aneillo “Neil” Dellacroce, one of his underbosses, He then named Tommy Bilotti, a body guard, as a new underboss despite Bilotti’s lack of skills for the job. Castellano and Bilottie were shot dead outside a steak house by order of John Gotti. The men had been lured there with the promise of having a talk with Gotti to “iron things out.” Gotti later was sentenced to prison for life and subsequently died in prison.

In 1980, Angelo “The Gentle Don” Bruno was killed by a single gunshot blast in the back of his head while sitting in his car. He had developed many enemies by cashing in on the heroin market in Philadelphia while other families were barred from narcotic distribution. Dollar bills were found stuffed in his mouth and up Bruno’s anus to symbolize his greed. The Philadelphia Family went into decline after Bruno’s death. Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas) who was another mob boss who ordered the killing but was himself killed just a few weeks later in retaliation.

An 86-year-old Mafia patriarch, Nicolo Rizzuto, was gunned down in his Montreal home by a sniper, the latest blow to a once-formidable criminal organization. Rizzuto was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead on November 11, 2010.

Salvatore Montagna, 40, the acting boss of the Bonanno mob family with strong southern Ontario ties, was killed by gunfire in the Montreal suburb of Ile Vaudry, near Repentigny on November 24, 2011.

These are just some of the many mob bosses who were murdered. I am now going to tell you about another Canadian mob boss who was murdered. The trial of his murderers was just recently concluded. The murdered mob boss I am referring to was John Raposo.  

This 35-year-old mobster was a low-level gang leader, once the main man in the McCormick Boys, a small Toronto west-end crew that bought drugs from Italian organized crime to push on the streets. The McCormick Boys, who took their name from a park on the edge of Toronto’s Portuguese neighbourhood had about ten core members and perhaps twice as many associates. They were not major players, but their drug connections with the Italian mob discouraged anyone from messing with them.

Raposo had sporadic run-ins with police, starting in 1997 when he was in his early 20s. Last year, he was accused of beating up a man over a gin rummy game at a Mississauga gambling den.

But by all appearances, Raposo had done well for himself. He owned two pieces of property, including a place on Willard Avenue, in upscale Swansea, where he built a large new house for his family and was expecting a second child with his common-law wife.

His hopes and dreams all ended on Tuesday, June 19th 2012 when he was shot dead in broad daylight at the Sicilian Sidewalk Café, a landmark ice-cream parlour on College Street east of Ossington Avenue, in the western part of Toronto which is often referred to as Little Italy.  The shooting occurred at the height of a Euro 2012 match between Italy and Ireland. Another man was wounded in the shooting.

Sixteen days earlier, two gang members (not members of Reposo’s gang) were fatally shot along with five bystanders wounded when a gunman opened fire at the crowded Eaton Centre food court on Yonge Street. Christopher Husbands was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the case. His jury found him guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Ahmed Hassan and Nixon Nirmalendran. He was also found guilty of five counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm. Superior Court Justice Eugene Ewaschuk sentenced Husbands to serve two consecutive 15-year periods of parole ineligibility under a recent law that applies in cases with multiple murders.

His appeal to the judge was a constitutional challenge from Husbands’ lawyers, who argued that consecutive periods of parole ineligibility would amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Hey dummies. That appeal even if it went to a higher court would receive the same sympathy as a mosquito when it’s sucking your blood from your arms.

And now back to John Reposo’s murder.

Although he only had a few members in his McCormick Boys gang, they wielded considerable authority on the street because their drugs came directly from the Italian Mafia. They had graduated from street dealers to middlemen who moved their product from the Mafia to other street-level dealers, including Hispanic and black gangs, in western part of Toronto, He was not known to be related to Luis "Chopper" Raposo, who was one of the Bandidos killed in the April 2006 Shedden Massacre, the two likely knew each other through shared connections with the Loners motorcycle gang.

Raposo was killed by Dean Wiwichar and Alkali. Wiwichar was a bad dude who had made his way through the Canadian corrections system. Suspended from high school for fighting, he had been arrested several times for robberies and assaults, often employing masks and weapons.

When he reached 18 in 2005, he was given a 10-year sentence. At his March 2009 parole hearing, the decision-makers heard that while in prison he had been caught with weapons 10 times and had been involved in five assaults. They paroled him anyway. Stupid decision. A month later, he was in a car wreck in Maple Ridge, B.C., that broke his leg. The driver was a fellow parolee and the car was leased by a fugitive. He wasn’t to associate with a felon while on parole. Since the police found a loaded handgun and marijuana in the car, Wiwichar was sent back behind bars. Inside, he continued his aggressive ways, even assaulting a guard with the walker he was issued to help with his broken leg.

After his next release, Wiwichar was arrested again in May 2012 and charged with 37 counts of firearms offenses. His co-accused was a woman named Juanita Hyslop and an alleged gangster named Philip Ley. Ley is alleged to be a member of the Red Scorpions (Bacon's gang) and is also alleged to have been the target of a failed assassination attempt orchestrated by the Dhak gang, which is also alleged to have been behind Bacon's murder.

Alkhalil (that agreed to supply the hitman with the gun he had requested’ Alkhalil has had a similarly checkered past. With two of his brothers already dead due to their involvement in gangs, Alkhalil appeared undeterred.

In November 2012, Alkhalil was one of several people arrested in Montreal in an operation of moving 75 kg of cocaine per week. During his arrest, police confiscated 400 firearms, explosives, $255,000 in cash, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs. Among those arrested was the man police allege was the ring leader, Larry Amero. Not only was Nero well known as a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels, but he was also the man critically injured in the assault that killed Bacon.

According to the police investigation, Dean Wiwichar and Rabih Alkhalil were working under the orders of Nicola "Nick" Nero (arrested at his Niagara Falls home) and Martino Caputo (arrested in Germany). The two latter men were suspected of having close ties to the Mafia and the Hells Angels.

The Crown (prosecutor) later told the jury that Nicola Nero, Martino Caputo and Rabih Alkhalil were the masterminds of the plan, while a fourth accused, Dean Wiwchar, was the contract killer tasked with carrying out the job.

Prior to the trial, the police in the Niagara Region obtained warrants to wiretap Nero's phones and record conversations in his home and car in early 2012 as part of an investigation into his alleged drug activities. This led them to Nero’s personal identification number and password which they later used to crack the encryption on his messages.

In an encrypted text message from Nero’s cell phone, that was intercepted by the police, Wiwchar had stated that he was in the hitman business, was currently under contract and that his fee was $100,000. Never ever advertise a message like that via the internet or the HiFi. The police have the means of getting at the messages and even have the ability to break an encrypted message.  

Wiwchar was first contacted by Alkhalil, who called Wiwchar his "best hitter" in another intercepted message. That tied Alkhalil to the murder.

Once back in Vancouver, Wiwchar's messages indicated he was aware he had been under police surveillance in Toronto, but planned to take a circuitous route to evade law enforcement when he returned to carry out the hit. He should have used a circuitous method of communicating.

In some of the messages, Nero called Raposo a "rat" who deserved to die for some harm he had caused to Nero and Caputo, another thug.

There were discussions on the need to get a photo of Raposo and a list of addresses where he could be found, as well as the gun to be used by the hitman. In the messages, Alkhalil agreed to supply the hitman with the gun he had requested.

At their trials, their lawyers raised really idiotic defences. “The three men who sent each other text messages advocating revenge against a rival were simply engaging in macho nonsense and not plotting a murder.” said one of the lawyers to the jury. Another defence lawyer told the jury that all the messages show is people play-acting like they’re in a Scorsese movie or something in order to appear tough. Well that play actually existed.

One of the lawyers said in his closing submission to the jurors, “While the group may have wanted retribution against John Raposo, they sought to get it by stealing a shipment of drugs worth millions of dollars from him, not by having him killed. “It was a drug conversation, not a killing conversation.”

If those jurors believed those fairy tales, it would be easy to sell them land in a swamp. With the jury previously being apprised of the text messages whch was concrete evidence against these criminals, why would any of the jurors believe the criminal’s lawyers blather? Texting can be hazardous at times, especially when you are planning a murder.

Prior to the murder, Wiwchar had taken two short trips to Toronto in May and early June, during which he used a rented car to drive near Raposo's home and the Sicilian Sidewalk Café.

He took a Greyhound bus to Calgary under a fake name on June 12, 2012, then flew to Montreal and travelled to Toronto from there, arriving the following day. This time there was no police surveillance.

On the day of the shooting, Wiwchar was wearing a shoulder-length wig, sunglasses, a dust mask, an orange construction vest with a large reflective X on it and a hardhat. Raposo was seated on the outdoor patio next to the sidewalk when Wiwchar shot him in the head. Wiwchar then simply walked away. 

Later, a hardhat, construction vest and skin-coloured face masks were among the items found in Wiwchar's Vancouver home in the days that followed, while officers who seized his luggage found a strand of hair that tests later established that it came from a wig that Wiwchar was wearing. An experienced hit-man would have disposed of all that evidence soon after he committed the murder. It was later used against Wiwchar as evidence in court. It doesn’t take intelligence to shoot someone. It does however take intelligence to escape and never be caught. He obviously didn’t have the intelligence to achieve a successful escape.   

After the hit was done, Wiwchar was arrested on June 21st. More than $60,000 in cash was also found in bundles in his pockets and his luggage in his parents' home in Stouffville, Ontario (north of Toronto) where Wiwchar stayed three days after the shooting, Earlier searches of Wiwchar's other home in Surrey, B.C., had uncovered a cache of firearms as well as wigs, liquid latex skin, theatrical makeup, fake moustaches and beards and other items.

Nero and Caputo were arrested in early 2013 in Germany and Alkhalil was arrested in Greece the following year. All four of these criminals were charged with first degree murder.

The Crown (prosecutor) alleged that Nicola Nero, Martino Caputo and Rabih Alkhalil were the masterminds of the plan, while the fourth accused, Dean Wiwchar, was the contract killer tasked with carrying out the job.

They were all convicted by their jury. The judge sentenced each of them to prison for twenty-five years. They can apply for parole after they have served their twenty-five year sentences. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be released since the sentence is actually a life sentence.  

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