Notorious West End Gangsters
Montreal’s “King of Coke,” as O’Connor describes him, was the unofficial kingpin of the city’s Irish Mafia in the 1970s and ’80s. Ryan got into trouble with the law early and often, but thanks to his charm, generosity and charisma, his influence quickly rose during the 1970s. He soon moved into drug dealing, becoming one of the main suppliers to the Hells Angels and Cotroni crime family.
On Nov. 13, 1984, he was lured to his main headquarters at the Nittolo Garden motel at 6580 St-Jacques W., promised by West End Gang associate Paul April that a woman was waiting for him. Instead, he found April—who owed Ryan $200,000 in coke money—Robert Lelièvre and three other men who were planning to kidnap him, demand the location of his $50–$100-million fortune and then execute him. Following a brief struggle, Lelièvre shot Ryan in the chest with a shotgun. He was finished off with a .45 to the face.
Ryan’s successor, whom O’Connor calls “the Emperor of Coke,” supposedly acquired his nickname from both his “ferret-like features and his ability to weasel out of being busted.” Arrested at his Fort Lauderdale oceanfront condo in 1991 (despite offering an arresting officer $200,000 to let him go), he was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences for plotting to import and traffic more than 10,000 kilos of cocaine and more than 300 tons of marijuana. Another 30 years was tacked on to his sentence for the 1985 murder of Montreal-born David Singer, found shot to death in Pompano Beach, Florida.
A founding member of the Montreal Hells Angels, Trudeau—“a five-foot-six, 135-pound psychopath”—admitted to participating in the murders of 43 people between 1970 and 1985, including blowing up Paul April, Robert Lelièvre and two other known criminals on Nov. 25, 1984 using a television packed with explosives. Trudeau eventually turned informant and, after spending seven years in prison, lived under an assumed name until he was arrested in 2004 for sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy. He is currently being treated for incurable bone marrow cancer and is expected to die soon.
In the mid-1980s the Goose Village native and longtime West End Gang associate became head of the Port of Montreal’s Coopers and Checkers’ Union, giving him the ability to smuggle tons of narcotics into the city. The notorious 1994 “Matticks Affair” was a prime example of overzealous law enforcement bungling when it was revealed in court that the SQ, in trying to put away Matticks for smuggling 26 tons of hash into Montreal, fabricated evidence. The case was tossed out of court. He was arrested again during Opération Printemps 2001 and sentenced to 12 years in prison on gangsterism and drug trafficking charges. Paroled last year, he claims he wants to cultivate land and grow organic products.
MacAllister has been in and out of jail all his life, with arrests in the 1960s and ’70s related to bank and armoured car robberies. In 1993, he was arrested for conspiring to import 5,000 kilos of cocaine. After repeated parole violations and re-incarcerations, MacAllister was granted full parole in December 2010, but with stringent conditions attached. In 2003, his younger brother Peter published a semi-autobiographical novel Dexter, based on the MacAllister brothers’ experiences.