Is Montreal awash in all-out mob war?

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

Bodies found face-down in their driveways, SUVs riddled with bullet holes, a notorious Mafioso help up somewhere in the city. Montreal's criminal underworld appears to be bubbling to the surface.

Reputed mob boss Vito Rizzuto's return to Montreal is being cited in a recent spate of violence seemingly related to a territorial struggle in the city, with experts expecting more coming through the winter.

The Montreal Gazette reports that a man killed over the weekend had strong ties to the mafia and may have been the latest casualty in a simmering feud between underworld factions.

Montreal police have not released the identity of the victim, found shot dead inside an SUV Saturday morning, but reported have identified him as Emilio Cordileone.

[ Related: Alleged mobster's murder may signal more instability in Montreal Mafia ]

The 50-year-old was named during an RCMP probe into organized crime in the Montreal area and had previous ties to Vito Rizzuto, according to the newspaper.

Rizzuto was released from a U.S. prison last in October and is believed to have returned to the Montreal area shortly after. Experts say his return to the scene could result in a shakeup, with the death of Cordileone being part of the possible fallout.

"Montreal is like a powder keg right now. And there is a sense that the violence is no longer one-sided," Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso told the Gazette. "Unfortunately, I don't think this is the end of it."

Organized crime has long been a topic of consternation in Montreal, but it has rarely been more prevalent than at this moment.

Rizzuto himself was reportedly summoned to appear at a corruption inquiry last month, with police confirming they met with the reputed mob boss after his release from prison.

Rizzuto served five years in relation to three gangland murders. His father and eldest son were killed and his brother-in-law disappeared during his time in prison.

In recent weeks, several other men with alleged ties to the mob have been found dead. Joseph Di Maulo, a 70-year-old mafia veteran believed to be consolidating power in Rizzuto's absence, was found killed in his driveway last month.

[ Related: How the Mob used intimidation to control construction ]

Mohamed Awada was also found dead in front of his house. In 2008, Awada was charged and later acquitted of kidnapping a member of Rizzuto's clan, according to the Gazette.

Adrian Humphreys, a reporter for the National Post and the author of The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto, hinted on Twitter that more violence could be expected as Rizzuto reasserts himself in the underworld.

Rizzuto's son, Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., was shot dead on Dec. 28, 2009. One might wonder how the anniversary will be marked.