Decrypted text messages point to mob killing: Crown

Raynald Desjardins leaves the Joliette, Que., courthouse on Dec. 21. (JOCELYN MALETTE/QMI AGENCY)

Raynald Desjardins leaves the Joliette, Que., courthouse on Dec. 21. (JOCELYN MALETTE/QMI AGENCY)

Daniel Renaud, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 PM ET

MONTREAL - Mafia types might want to bring back face-to-face meetings following revelations that police can decrypt BlackBerry text messages.

The Crown has allegedly obtained incriminating texts implicating businessman Raynald Desjardins and three reputed accomplices in the November assassination of mob boss Salvatore Montagna.

The revelations in court prompted Desjardins' lawyer, Claude Olivier, to demand search and wiretap warrants as well as transcripts of police surveillance.

"The question is whether the judge had had enough (information) when he approved such a thing," said Olivier. "If so, was it legal and did police follow procedure?"

The Crown has agreed to release the search warrants to the defence, but they vigorously oppose the other two requests.

It was previously thought BlackBerry text messages could only be seen by the sender and the receiver, but court documents indicate the RCMP has been able to decrypt the messages for several months.

Documents show a first set of incriminating texts was sent on Sept. 16, the day Desjardins escaped an assassination attempt north of Montreal. A second round of texts were sent on Nov. 24, just after Montagna was shot and killed near the city.

It's believed Montagna was murdered in retaliation for the deaths of several members of the Rizzuto crime family over the past two years.

Desjardins is reputed to have been part of the Rizzuto family's inner circle.

He was arrested last month along with alleged accomplices Vittorio Mirarchi and Felice Racaniello. A third alleged collaborator, 69-year-old Jack Simpson, was already in jail in Ontario.

All face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Two other men, one of whom was believed to be Desjardins' bodyguard, face weapons charges.

Asked how his clients reacted to police interception of the text messages, their lawyer replied that they had no reaction "since they claim that the (texts) weren't from them."


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