Alleged mobsters busted during the Niagara sweep now face conspiracy to commit murder charges

Nicola (Nick) Nero, 35, of Niagara-on-the-Lake was taken into police custody in May 2012.

Nicola (Nick) Nero, 35, of Niagara-on-the-Lake was taken into police custody in May 2012.

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:14 PM ET

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Six men previously swept up in the Project Ink police operation that's targeting Mob activities in Ontario's Niagara region now face two charges each of conspiracy to commit murder.

One of those is alleged drug kingpin Nick Nero, who's been previously tied to the execution of Johnnie Raposo in Toronto's Little Italy in 2012.

The case dates back to an attempted kidnapping of a man in the Halton area, and the police takedown of three men.

Those three -- Frank Aceti, 38, of Niagara Falls, Joshua Burnett, 37, of Thorold and Chris Marrazo, 37, of Fort Erie -- were arrested in the case, but it never proceeded to court due to lack of evidence -- until now.

New evidence came to light this year in the course of the massive Project Ink drug-trafficking investigation, police said.

Aceti, Burnett and Marrazo are charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit murder.

So are Nicola (Nick) Nero, 38, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Frank Alessio, 35, of Niagara Falls and Alfonso Inclima, 41, of Woodbridge.

Nero was already in custody on the Project Ink charges and a charge of first-degree murder in the June 2012 Raposo shooting.

"The evidence that we analyzed showed a conspiracy between these six to murder the victim of the kidnapping in January 2012 and another man," Staff Sgt. Shawn Clarkson said.

He described the relationship between the accused and the victims as a "money and drug dispute." He said the victims were known to Nero.

The six accused appeared in court Wednesday for a bail hearing and had their cases put over to various dates in June, July and August.

Evidence in the bail hearings is under publication ban. Public information obtained from the charge document in the court file said the six were charged with conspiring between Oct. 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and elsewhere to murder Marek Sepek and Dean Costanza.

During the Project Ink sweep in 2012, police seized 110 kilograms of cocaine, as well as property from the extravagant lifestyles, opulent residences and luxurious vehicles that allegedly came from these drug activities.

Some Project Ink accused have already had their matters dealt with in court.

Alessio and his brother Angelo are serving eight years in custody after pleading guilty in July 2013 to cocaine possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Nebojsa Dronjak, of Port Robinson, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to conspiring to traffic cocaine and received seven years. Mohamed Reza Amin Torbari, of Vancouver, pleaded guilty that month to conspiracy to import cocaine and also received seven years.

The remaining Project Ink accused are scheduled to go to trial on the drug charges on Sept. 8. They include Nero and Inclima, Nero's fiancee Tawnya delBen Fletcher of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Martino Caputo of Toronto.

Rabih Al Khalil of Montreal is in Greece and is still awaiting court dates.

karena.walter@sunmedia.ca


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