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File photo shows two suspects and two vehicles which have been linked to two separate homicides, including the March 14, 2017 fatal shooting of Mila Barberi, 28, in Vaughan, Ont.

York regional Police video

A suspected hit man, believed to have fled to Mexico after two mob-related murders in the Greater Toronto Area three years ago, has been confirmed dead.

Michael Cudmore is believed to have died in late June; his body was found in a vehicle abandoned at the side of a rural road in Mexico. Details of his death, including the cause, remain scarce at this point, and Hamilton Police Sergeant Peter Thom said he could not say whether the 39-year-old was killed, or died in some other way.

“It’d be foolish of me to make some comment on information I don’t have,” Sgt. Thom said Wednesday. “We have absolutely no information on the exact location, the circumstances. We’re working with the RCMP’s liaison officer and hoping to get that information so we can decide if there’s anything for us to act on, here in Canada.”

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The Hamilton man’s family had not heard from him since May, 2017, police say, when he boarded a flight to Cancun.

In September, 2018, police publicly identified Mr. Cudmore as one of three suspected hit men wanted in connection with two high-profile mob-related murders in Hamilton and Woodbridge, Ont., the previous year – one of which was bungled and led to the death of an innocent woman.

Mila Barberi was killed in broad daylight in a parking lot in an industrial area of Woodbridge when a masked gunman fired into the black BMW she was sitting in with her boyfriend, Saverio Serrano. It was Mr. Serrano – the son of a notorious Canadian Mafia figure and cocaine importer – who police believe was the target of that shooting, though he survived. Police have said Ms. Barberi was not involved in organized crime.

The second hit allegedly committed by the trio took place in May, 2017, a short time before Mr. Cudmore left for Mexico. Angelo Musitano, of the infamous Musitano crime family in Hamilton, was gunned down in the driveway of his suburban home in the Waterdown area of Hamilton. Surveillance footage acquired in that investigation showed the hit man had previously been driving the same car as in the Woodbridge case.

Alongside Mr. Cudmore, police also identified Daniel Tomassetti – an owner of a Hamilton-based company called WayV Travel – as one of their three suspects. He fled to Mexico in January, 2018, where police suspect he remains. Sgt. Thom said Wednesday that he has no information to suggest Mr. Tomassetti is dead. He said the 29-year-old’s family members are unsure of his precise whereabouts, but are “aware that he is scared.”

The third suspect, Jabril Abdalla, 29, was arrested in September, 2018, at his Hamilton home, and is now awaiting trial. In an e-mail Wednesday, his lawyer Leora Shemesh said her client "intends to plead not guilty to the charges before the Court and we look forward to clearing his name as soon possible.”

The trio are alleged to have been directly involved in the planning execution of the hits – but not the masterminds behind them.

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Other “persons of interest” in the cases have also been identified, including Daniele Ranieri, a Bolton, Ont., man and former prison associate of Mr. Cudmore, who is believed to have travelled to Mexico to meet him. Mr. Ranieri had been hiding out there since 2015, living under a false name after a warrant was issued for him as part of an organized crime investigation called Project Forza. He was found tied up and executed in the Cancun area in March, 2018.

These slayings have been part of a surge of mob-related killings linked to the Greater Toronto Area over the past several years, with Hamilton exposed as an epicentre of the region’s organized crime.

Angelo Musitano’s older brother Pat was killed this past July, in a mid-afternoon hit in the parking lot of a Burlington, Ont., strip mall. The 52-year-old had previously survived an attempted hit outside his lawyer’s office in April, 2019, as well as shootings and arson at his central Hamilton home.

“There is some kind of power struggle going on, and appears to still be going on,” Sgt. Thom said Wednesday. “Obviously with recent events, we’re still trying to come to an understanding as to who is in play at the moment.”

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