Liborio (Pancho) Cuntrera
|Liborio (Pancho) Cuntrera, perhaps the biggest fish sought last week in a police operation targeting people tied to the Mafia in Montreal, has returned to Canada and is expected to appear at the Montreal courthouse today. (May 16, 2016) Cuntrera, 47, of Laval, faces three charges related to Project Clemenza, a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation into cocaine trafficking and smuggling.|
Cuntrera was in Italy when the RCMP sought to arrest him. RCMP spokesperson Corporal Camille Habel confirmed that Cuntrera was arrested on Sunday at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport and was taken into custody after he got off his plane.
A year after Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto died of natural causes in December 2013, reports surfaced alleging that six men had formed a type of committee that had assumed control of the Mafia in Montreal for the Rizzuto organization. Cuntrera was one of the men reported to be on the committee as was Rizzuto’s son Leonardo, who was arrested in November in a different police investigation.|
Cuntrera’s father, Agostino, was part of a group of men who plotted and carried out the 1978 murder of Montreal’s then-mob boss Paolo Violi. The murder helped the Rizzuto organization take control of the Mafia in Montreal away from the Cotroni clan. Agostino Cuntrera was killed on June 29, 2010, in St-Léonard while the Rizzuto organization was under attack.
|The RCMP is carrying out a series of arrests in the Montreal area in what the Mounties are calling the third and last phase of an investigation into the Mafia in Montreal that began several years ago. |
Included among the people the RCMP expects to arrest is Liborio (Pancho) Cuntrera, a man who police sources have often described as a potential leader within what remains of the Rizzuto organization. Cuntrera is the son of a now deceased member of the Rizzuto organization who was gunned down in St-Leonard when the Mafia clan was under pressure from rivals about five years ago. He also represents the second generation of a group of well known wealthy international drug smugglers known as the Cuntrera-Caruana organization. According to a release by the RCMP more than 220 kilos of cocaine were seized during the investigation.
|Thirteen people have been arrested, while another person has been located in Italy and a 15th is also being sought. The alleged Mafia ring imported a total of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine. |
Most live in the Montreal area, although one is currently detained at the Kingston Penitentiary. Among those arrested were Michele Lanni, Carmelo Marsala, Roberto Olaciregui-Martinez, Marco Pizzi, Riccardo Preteroti, and Andreas Tasci,