Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A police car sits outside the church during the funeral of mob boss Vito Rizzuto in Montreal December 30, 2013. Rizzuto died of natural causes in a hospital on December 23, 2013. Ducarme Joseph, a 46-year-old once described by police as the city’s most dangerous street gang leader, died in the middle of the road just metres from his mother’s home in the rough-and-tumble neighbourhood of St-Michel last Friday night. Mr. Joseph was believed to be linked to the 2009 shooting of Vito Rizzuto’s son, Nicolo Rizzuto.

Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

A burst of gunfire that killed a leading Montreal gang figure and shattered months of relative peace in the city's underworld may mark the launch of a new era of upheaval, or may just be the final act of the last war.

Ducarme Joseph, a 46-year-old once described by police as the city's most dangerous street gang leader, died in the middle of the road just metres from his mother's home in the rough-and-tumble neighbourhood of St-Michel last Friday night. Mr. Joseph led the 67 gang – named for a neighbourhood bus route.

The high-profile murder may finally be the execution of an old vendetta from the Montreal Mafia, or may be the Hells Angels sending a message to street gangs that the bikers are back after several years on their heels. Both theories may be true, according to Maria Mourani, the independent Montreal MP who has written two books on street gangs.

Story continues below advertisement

"It seems like a page being turned," Ms. Mourani said. "The Hells Angels are restructuring and reconstituting after almost being eradicated. The Mafia and the bikers may be renewing their historical relationship divvying up organized crime, and sending a message to street gangs that they must yield. I think it's two-for-one."

Mr. Joseph was believed to be linked to the 2009 shooting of Nicolo Rizzuto, the son of deceased Montreal Mafia kingpin Vito Rizzuto. Nicolo's death came at the height of a war within Montreal's organized crime. Police believe Mr. Joseph drove the getaway car, La Presse reported on the weekend.

"It seems clear to me he was involved," said Pierre de Champlain, a former RCMP intelligence analyst and author of a history of Montreal's Mafia. "But does it mean the Rizzutos are back in charge? I doubt it. They have been decimated, destroyed. But I'm sure there are loyalists left behind who decided to maintain the tradition that a death has to be avenged."

Montreal's criminal underworld has spent a decade in upheaval. The Hells Angels and the Rizzuto clan, the two most powerful organizations in the city, came under intense pressure in the mid-2000s as major police investigations led to dozens of arrests and hollowed out their ranks.

The ensuing power vacuum led to a bloody internal war in the Rizzuto clan. A rough count shows that, from 2008 to 2013, at least 45 men died, disappeared or were wounded by gunfire, including the family patriarch, Nick Rizzuto, and his namesake grandson. The violence accelerated in the fall of 2012, when mob boss Vito Rizzuto returned from prison and several of his family's known enemies died. Vito Rizzuto died unexpectedly from cancer in December, at the age of 67. The blood-letting ended with Mr. Rizzuto's death.

Meanwhile, Hells Angels jailed nearly a decade ago have started to trickle out of prison. The biker gang's own website recently announced a Montreal chapter is being re-established after years dormant.

Mr. Joseph was long thought to be living on borrowed time.

Story continues below advertisement

He narrowly escaped a shooting at the clothing boutique he owned in Old Montreal three months after the younger Nick Rizzuto was shot to death. A bodyguard and a shop manager died in that attack. Montreal police took the unusual step several years ago of publicly warning him that a contract was out on his life. In their book, Mafia Inc., writers André Cédilot and André Noel suggest the Rizzuto clan had put a $200,000 price on Mr. Joseph's head.

Mr. de Champlain said despite the relative calm of recent months, Montreal's underworld remains unstable. He and Ms. Mourani believe a kind of "round table" has unified Mafia factions for the moment, but nobody knows if peace will return after the latest killing.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies