|Vito Rizzuto. (Pablo Durant/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL — The two street gang members assassinated here over the weekend had ties to the city's Italian Mafia, and their deaths are precursors of more violence, experts tell QMI Agency.
Antonio Nicaso, author and expert on the Mafia in Canada, told QMI Agency that Montrealers can expect more violence in the weeks prior to the release of Vito Rizzuto from a Colorado prison.
Vito was the reputed leader of the Montreal's Rizzuto crime family before he was jailed in the U.S. after pleading guilty to charges in connection with the 1981 murders of members of New York's Bonnano Mafia clan.
He is scheduled for release in October.
"We should expect an increase in violence as Vito Rizzuto's return date approaches," Nicaso said.
Chenier Dupuy, 37, the reputed head of the Bo-Gars street gang, was shot dead Friday evening in east-end Montreal. Hours later, Lamartine Paul Severe, 42, who also had Bo-Gars ties, was shot dead outside his home north of the city.
Police also found a 30-year-old man shot dead in an apartment in central Montreal on Saturday afternoon, but while spokesman Daniel Fortier said investigators in all three cases "are collaborating," police can't confirm the three murders are related.
Maria Mourani, criminologist and Bloc Quebecois MP for a north Montreal riding, agreed with Nicaso.
"Vito Rizzuto is coming back to the country — the territory needs to be prepared," she said.
Mourani told QMI that it is highly probable that Dupuy and Severe were targeted due to their Rizzuto links.
"These people are the Mafia's hit men," she said.
Mourani said Severe was allegedly under the orders of Tony Magi, a businessman with links to the Rizzutos. Magi survived an assassination attempt in 2008.
Several members of the Rizzuto family have been murdered over the past several years.
Crime experts have told QMI Agency that since the fall of the Rizzuto clan, which reportedly had a firm grasp over the city's crime underworld since the late '70s, a power vacuum has been created.
The string of assassinations and restaurant fire-bombings across the island since 2009 are signs that no one group is in charge, experts tell QMI Agency.