Irshadgul News report,
A high-profile member of organized crime in Montreal was shot and killed Monday afternoon, sources confirmed to Radio-Canada.
Francesco del Balso was shot near the corner of Deacon Street and Saint-Regis Boulevard in Dorval in Montreal’s West Island.
Montreal police were on the scene and reported a shootout with one dead victim.
Del Balso was arrested in 2006 as part of Operation Collisy Sweep of the Montreal Mafia. He was convicted of gangsterism and conspiracy to import cocaine.
He was released in 2016, then ordered back to prison over concerns for his safety. Parole board documents at the time described him as “next on the execution list”. Del Balso was re-released in 2018.
He was arrested by police in Laval, Que., in September 2022 in connection with threats and extortion against leaders of a local religious community.
Last March, the Sûreté du Québec searched his home, along with the homes of three influential members of the Hells Angels, as part of a drug-trafficking investigation.
A week before that discovery, he was questioned by provincial police investigators when he tried to leave for Italy. He was released, but his passport was confiscated.
The shooting follows two other high profile attacks this year.
In March, Leonardo Rizzuto, who had reportedly taken over from his father Vito Rizzuto as Montreal Mafia leader, was shot to death in Laval, Que. The car he was driving was hit by multiple bullets. Rizzuto escaped with injuries.
On May 16, Claudia Iacona, daughter-in-law of Montreal Mafia member Moreno Gallo, was killed in a targeted shooting in the parking lot of her beauty salon in the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough. ,
mafia power imbalance
Antonio Nicoso is the author of over 40 books on organized crime, and he teaches the subject at Queen’s University. He said that Del Balso once arranged gambling for the Rizzuto crime family.
“He was a very powerful mobster,” Nicoso said.
Niccio said that del Balso specializes in illegal bookmaking activities, but his attempts to make his way into the field of gambling and extortion have led to conflicts with the Rizzuto clan.
Nikoso said that challenging the family’s senior management resulted in retaliation and that del Balso tried to flee the country because he was being hunted. The dispute increased.
“We learned that he was a suspect in the attempted murder of Leonardo Rizzuto – he had some significant connections with the Hells Angels,” Nicoso said.
He said that when such violence takes place, it brings into limelight the activities of criminal organizations and shows the power imbalance between them.
However, the mafia, or mafia-like organizations, are more powerful when they do not use violence because it creates a better environment for them to bribe and corrupt people – infiltrating organizations with the goal of making money, Nicoso explained.
“When there is war, it is always painful for everyone and it is not the best strategy to conduct criminal activities,” Nicoso said.
Del Balso’s murder confirms that the Mafia war in Montreal is “not over yet”, Nicso said, but it is unclear how far the battle will go.