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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Project Croisière, Bruno Diquinzio, is being sought on drug trafficking charges filed in Vancouver.

Bruno Diquinzio, 42, was named yesterday as remaining at large following arrests in Project Croisière, a joint police investigation into a cocaine trafficking ring that stretched from Vancouver to Montreal.Diquinzio, a Montrealer, played an enforcer for a mafioso in Omertà, a popular fictional account of the Montreal Mafia that aired on Radio Canada during the late 1990s. The series title was borrowed from the Sicilian expression for the Mafia's code of silence.Besides charges filed against him in Montreal court yesterday, Diquinzio is being sought since June 1 on drug trafficking charges filed in Vancouver.In 2000, he was sentenced to a 3-year prison term after police in Montreal linked him to a large stash of drugs, cash and weapons uncovered in the St. Michel district. Police initially linked him to the Montreal Mafia, but during a Dec. 2000 parole hearing, his classification was modified to a "large-scale drug trafficker" with extensive contacts in the drug milieu.At least one of the people arrested yesterday is known to have links to the Montreal Mafia through the Rizzuto clan. Antonino Milioto, 62, was arrested in 1999 in connection with another cocaine smuggling ring along with people connected to the Montreal Mafia. In 2003, he was sentenced to 31/2 years for playing a limited role in the plot to smuggle hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Miami to Montreal.Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Martine Isabelle described Project Croisière as a joint investigation by the SQ, the RCMP and Revenue Quebec."A part of the investigation leads us to believe it can be tied to (the Hells Angels)," she said.None of those arrested yesterday appears to be full-patch members of the biker gang.Nine people were arrested in Montreal. Another five were arrested in Ottawa and two others were apprehended in Vancouver. Arrests were also made in the Laurentians, Eastern Townships and western Quebec."The investigation began in September 2006, and it showed that the drugs were imported from Mexico to Canada," Isabelle said. "On an annual basis this organization was importing several hundred kilos of cocaine."The drugs were smuggled via the western U.S. into British Columbia in vehicles. From Vancouver, the cocaine was driven to Montreal, then distributed to various part of Quebec.Included among the people identified by police as leaders of the network were Lionel Gauthier, 67, of Val Morin; Robert Brunet, 62, of Rosemere; Mario Cariello, 46, of Montreal; Richard Paré, 42, of Rosemere; and 46-year-old Michel Lecompte of Gatineau. Revenue Quebec announced yesterday it was placing seizure orders on assets owned by Gauthier, Cariello and Lecompte.Isabelle said two large seizures were already made in Montreal and in western Quebec in April and May during the investigation. Police seized cocaine, ecstacy and cars at the time


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