After recording 17 organized crime-related killings in the greater Montreal area since Jan 1., Quebec and Montreal police announced Wednesday the creation of a permanent mixed squad dedicated to investigating groups such as the Mafia and the Hells Angels.
Investigators from the Montreal police will work in the offices of the provincial police, and vice versa, in order to better share information, provincial police spokesman Guy Lapointe said in an interview.
He pointed to the recent success of a mixed Quebec-Montreal squad in arresting four people in connection with the murders of four known Mafia members.
“So what we are announcing today is that kind of collaboration will be permanent,” Lapointe said.
Three men and one woman were arrested last month in connection with the 2016 killings of brothers Vincenzo Falduto and Giuseppe Falduto, as well as Rocco Sollecito and Lorenzo Giordano — two lieutenants of late crime boss Vito Rizzuto.
Lapointe said since Rizzuto died in 2013, there has been a leadership vacuum in Montreal, which helps to explain the violence.
“Vito Rizzuto was never really replaced,” said Lapointe, adding that the Mafioso was able to control warring clans in the city and keep the peace. “Since his death, there is no one who is able to take that place, and those old conflicts have returned.”
Montreal police spokesman Andre Durocher said several recent murders linked to organized crime have occurred in the greater Montreal area, many in public places such as hotel lobbies and parking lots.
Out of the 17 killings in the Montreal region linked to organized crime this year, just three were on the island of Montreal and 14 were in off-island suburbs.
Neither police force has unblocked extra funds for the new squad.