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New book covers history of organized crime in Montreal

Pierre de Champlain is one of Canada’s foremost experts on organized crime. As an intelligence analyst for the RCMP he got an up close and personal look at gangsters and crimes. As an author he shared his knowledge with readers around the world. On February 26, his new book about the history of organized crime in Montreal will hit stores.

By Pierre de Champlain

The release of Histoire du crime organisé à Montréal de 1900 à 1980 (it is printed in French - English prints will soon follow) comes ten years after the release of my book Mobsters, Gangsters and Men of Honour which detailed the Mafia’s codes, structure, and behavior.

This new book reveals that organized crime activities such as drug trafficking, prostitution and gambling were almost out of control in the early 20th century in Montreal, where corruption was “a way of life” among city police and politicians. It also covers the activities of the Black Hand, a criminal organization which was not only active in New York and Chicago but in Montréal and Toronto as well.

It contains new information about Tony Frank, a mobster born in Catania, Sicily, who emigrated in Montréal in the 1900's. He was a very influential mafia boss who had solid ties to some of the members of the Morality Squad of the Montreal police. There was also Harry Davis, a gangster born from Russian Jewish parents, who in the mid-1920s became an important drug trafficker, and who was finally arrested by the RCMP in 1933.

Organized crime in Montreal was predominantly ruled by Jewish gangsters who migrated to the US and Canada in large masses at the beginning of the 20th century. The Italian mob became a force only in the mid-1950s, when Carmine Galante and his cohorts set foot on Canadian soil in the early 1950's and took over Montréal rackets, namely major drug operations.

The book focuses in great part on the life and career of the Cotroni brothers, and in particular that one of Vincenzo, who ruled Montréal rackets from the mid-1950's until the 1980s. Thanks to the Access to Information Act, and to National Archives in Ottawa, which enabled me to get genuine information on the origins of the Cotronis in 1925, and other well-known Canadian major crime figures.

Histoire du crime organisé à Montréal de 1900 à 1980 will be available in bookstores by February 26. There will also be a digital version of the book. An English version might follow within a year. Get your copy here: http://www.editions-homme.com/histoire-crime-organise-montreal-1900...

Pierre de Champlain has shared his knowledge of Canadian organized crime with Gangsters Inc. on multiple occasions, both as a contributing writer as well as in interviews. Below are some of those contributions:

You can follow Pierre de Champlain on Twitter and buy his book here.

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