Montreal Mafia associate arrested for allegedly trying to extort a Laval church
The Laval police (SPL) logo is seen on June 13, 2008. -- FILE PHOTO (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe)
An associate of the of the Rizzuto Mafia clan was arrested by Laval police on Tuesday after allegedly trying to extort nuns and a priest from the Saint-Maxime Church in Laval.
On Monday, Francesco Del Balso reportedly demanded $5,000 a week from the church if he couldn't get back the jewelry that his ex-wife left while donating clothes to the convent a few years ago, according to the Journal de Montréal.
The intimidation allegedly began when the priest told Del Balso he had no idea about the jewelry, which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the media outlet reports.
Located in Laval's Chomedey district, the church told CTV News it is "very much aware of the situation" but did not comment on the alleged threats.
The 52-year-old is expected to face extortion and intimidation charges in court.
And this is not the first time Del Balso had dealings with the authorities.
In 2006, he was arrested in Project Coliseum, a major police operation targeting Italian organized crime around Montreal.
The Mob associate was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to gangsterism, cocaine smuggling, and tax evasion in the Rizzuto crime organization.
Del Balso also spent 30 days in prison after threatening Félix Séguin, a TVA journalist who covered his attempts to extort pizzeria owners in Quebec City.