By: Peter Edwards Star Reporter
Police suspect a Greater Toronto mobster connected to the international crime organization of the late Vito Rizzuto of Montreal has fled the country.
Daniele Ranieri, 30, of Bolton, is wanted by police for extortion and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, said Const. Andy Pattenden of York Regional Police.
Police wouldn’t comment on where they suspect Ranieri is hiding out.
He has been on the run since he was named three weeks ago as a principal target in a multi-jurisdictional investigation called Project Forza, an operation conducted by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, a task force also involving the RCMP and OPP.
Also sought by police is Lucas Day, 41, of Toronto, who faces eight outstanding firearms charges.
Ranieri and Day are described as armed and dangerous.
A police officer familiar with Ranieri said the longtime criminal has plenty of contacts to provide him with the bogus documents necessary to travel internationally.
Police say Ranieri was handed the reins to run Rizzuto’s GTA operations after a pair of murders left the post vacant.
He took over the responsibilities after the April 2013 murder of Juan Ramon Fernandez, who lived in Mississauga under the name “Joey Bravo.”
Rizzuto reportedly died of natural causes in a Montreal hospital a year ago.
Police say the ranks of mobsters in Montreal, the GTA and abroad began to thin considerably when Rizzuto was released from prison in October 2012, after he served 5½ years for his role in a triple murder in the Bronx.
Rizzuto’s family and businesses came under heavy fire during his absence, and he set out for revenge and to rebuild his empire upon his release, police say.
Ranieri met Fernandez in prison after each man ran up long and nasty records.
Fernandez, a black belt in karate, had the reputation for violence and Ranieri’s action-first attitude impressed him, the police source said.
By age 27, Ranieri had served three federal prison terms and also spent time in provincial jails for a series of offences that date back to 2002 and include uttering threats, robbery, pointing a firearm and assault with a weapon.
While behind bars, he was hit with further charges for smuggling drugs and threatening a guard at Collins Bay Penitentiary in Kingston.
“You also have a number of violent or potentially violent charges that were withdrawn or dismissed, including uttering threats (x6), possession of a weapons, forcible confinement and possession of firearm or ammunition contrary to prohibition order,” his parole file states.
“Your release history has been less than stellar, in that you have breached conditions of release in the past and have incurred further criminal convictions while serving periods of probation, and while in both provincial and federal custody,” his file continues. “You also incurred suspensions during your period of statutory release on both of you previous federal sentences.”
Ranieri’s prison file also notes that he has taken prison programs for reasoning and rehabilitation and anger and emotions management.
When not behind bars, Ranieri listed his employer as a York Region builder who’s believed by police to have tight ties to the Rizzuto group.