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A major police operation deploying more than 1,000 officers has begun in a series of pre-dawn arrests Thursday, reportedly targeting suspects linked to the Hells Angels and Montreal’s West End gang. (REUTERS)
A major police operation deploying more than 1,000 officers has begun in a series of pre-dawn arrests Thursday, reportedly targeting suspects linked to the Hells Angels and Montreal’s West End gang. (REUTERS)

Gunman sighted near Montreal home of mob-linked developer Add to ...

Montreal police are investigating reports that a gunman was threatening security agents posted near the house of controversial construction boss Antonio Magi.

The incident took place around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, on Beaconsfield Avenue near the corner of Somerled Avenue, in west-end Montreal, police said.

That street corner is near a house identified in court records as the address of Mr. Magi.

Two security guards posted outside a house called police after they saw a man pointing a firearm at them, said a Montreal police spokesman, Constable Simon Delorme.

No shots were fired and the suspect had fled by the time a large police contingent and a canine squad arrived to establish a security perimeter in the leafy residential area.

The gun was recovered, Constable Delorme said.

According to RCMP court affidavits, Mr. Magi has ties with members of the Rizzuto crime family.

Police wiretapped Mr. Magi having discussions with Vito Rizzuto, who is identified in court documents as the head of the Montreal Mafia.

In a series of 2003 phone conversations, Mr. Rizzuto updates Mr. Magi about another real-estate developer whose stolen car and briefcase needed to be recovered.

Wiretaps from 2005 show that Mr. Magi met several mobsters at a bar in suburban Laval and described how he escaped from two kidnappers who tried to handcuff and abduct him.

Mr. Magi never reported the kidnapping attempt to police. According to an RCMP court affidavit, Mr. Rizzuto’s son, Nick Jr., “told Magi not to worry and that he (Rizzuto) would get to the bottom of things.”

Nick Rizzuto Jr. was assassinated in 2009 near the offices of one of Mr. Magi’s firms, while his father Vito was in prison in the United States.

The following year, Mr. Magi was charged with improper storage of firearms, for which he pleaded guilty and got an absolute discharge.

Mr. Magi’s name was in the news again last month after Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum stepped down after being charged with 14 criminal counts, including fraud and corruption.

Mr. Applebaum’s arrest warrant named several co-conspirators who were not charged, including Montreal entrepreneur Robert Stein, whose late father was a business partner of Mr. Magi.

Following Mr. Applebaum’s arrest, a reporter for the newspaper La Presse went to Mr. Magi’s house to seek comments and was met in the driveway by a man described as a burly security guard wearing an earpiece, who said, “He’s not here. Don’t go here. That’s an order.”

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