MONTREAL – Officials were saying little about the impending American deportation of an alleged mob boss to Canada Sunday, not saying when he’ll set foot on Canadian soil.
Canada Border Services Agency spokesman Dominique McNeely confirmed Sunday that Salvatore Montagna was not yet in the country but say they expect his return.
Canadian authorities are talking to their American counterparts about the case, McNeely said.
“We work closely with U.S. authorities in this type of situation,” he said. “Yes, we’re in touch.”
He couldn’t offer specifics on this case, except to say that all citizens have a right to enter the country “even if they’re presented at the border by U.S. authorities.”
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan was also aware of the case, a spokesman said.
“It’s been brought to our attention,” said Christopher McCluskey. “We’ve received a number of phone calls.”
He said he couldn’t comment further on the case.
The FBI has called Montagna the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, an allegation his lawyer has denied.
He was detained April 6 for what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say are “civil violations” related to a contempt-of-court charge.
Montagna’s New York-based lawyer has also previously denied to American media that his client has any ties to the American Mafia.
George Stavropoulos said American authorities are only deporting Montagna because they’re unable to indict him for any crimes after investigating him for years.
“It is sour grapes on the part of the FBI,” Stavropoulos told the New York Post last week.
Montagna was charged with contempt-of-court after refusing to answer questions stemming from a grand jury inquiry into illegal gambling.
He pled guilty to the minor charge, but because he was in the U.S. on a green card issued less than five years before, he was deemed removable by authorities.
The 38-year-old owner of a steel business was born in Montreal but raised in Sicily and moved to the United States as a teenager.
“He plans to appeal to American authorities for re-entry for no other reason than his family being uprooted and the loss of his business,” Stavropoulos said in an email to The Canadian Press, correcting American media reports that Montagna wanted to appeal the case to Canadian authorities.
“His removal was not voluntary nor did he have a choice between Italy and Canada and if he did he would choose Canada,” he added.
“He has immediate and extended family and friends in Montreal.”
The Bonanno crime family is one of the five largest Mafia families in New York City, says Antonio Nicaso, a Toronto-based journalist who’s written extensively on the Cosa Nostra, and a family that has links to Montreal dating back to the 1950s.
“They’re involved in narcotics, extortion, loan sharking, gambling – a very powerful family,” he said.
Nicaso says doesn’t think Montagna will stay in the city for long if he decides to fight the deportation.
“He’s never been convicted of anything beyond contempt-of-court,” he said.
“It’s the only thing you can find on his criminal record. He may have a chance to return to the U.S.”
Category: Bonanno Family