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Montreal Mafia Gambling Figure Francesco Del Balso Shot Dead
Francesco Del Balso, 53, a prominent figure associated with the Rizzuto crime family, was fatally shot in a targeted attack yesterday. Del Balso was believed to be a key leader in the crime family and had significant control over their illicit gambling operations. However, his ambitions to expand his influence following the death of Vito Rizzuto in 2013 allegedly created tensions within the Mafia.
According to experts familiar with the Montreal Mafia, Del Balso’s power-seeking actions within the syndicate made him a marked man among his criminal counterparts. In recent months, there have been two failed attempts on his life, and tragically, the third attempt proved successful.
Del Balso Found Dead At The Scene
The shooting took place near Deacon Ave. in Dorval, with witnesses reporting gunfire just before 1 p.m. Law enforcement authorities swiftly responded to the incident, finding Del Balso with upper body gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene, despite having immediate medical attention.
The Rizzuto crime family, considered either a faction of New York’s Bonanno family or an independent Mafia organization by respective authorities, holds significant influence in Canadian organized crime. With a presence in southern Quebec and Ontario, the family suffered internal divisions and weakening after the death of Vito Rizzuto. Del Balso’s assassination suggests that the power struggle and violence within the organization continue unabated.
In March, Leonardo Rizzuto, Vito’s son, was shot and injured by unidentified assailants, with Del Balso being among the suspects. This recent murder underscores the ongoing conflict in Montreal and the persistent power vacuum left by Vito Rizzuto’s demise, causing violence among the various factions of what was once Canada’s most powerful Mafia family, as explained by organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso.
Del Balso had a history of involvement in criminal activities. He was initially arrested in 2006 during Operation Colisée, the largest Mafia crackdown in Canadian history. Sentenced to ten years for gangsterism and conspiracy to import cocaine, he was released in 2016 but faced subsequent imprisonment due to concerns for his safety. Despite being listed as “next on the execution list” in parole board filings, he was ultimately freed in 2018.
At the time of his death, Del Balso was under investigation for drug trafficking, adding another layer of complexity to the circumstances surrounding his assassination. Law enforcement agencies continue their efforts to address the escalating violence and criminal activities associated with organized crime in Montreal, urging the public to provide any information that could aid in apprehending those responsible for Del Balso’s murder.