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Montreal police, SQ carry out raids hoping to solve killings linked to organized crime

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Montreal police and Quebec provincial police conducted six raids Thursday morning in an effort to solve several homicides linked to organized crime dating as far back as the mid-90s.

"Individuals associated with notorious groups such as the Italian Mafia, the Hells Angels and criminal street gangs are targeted by the investigation," police said in a news release.

The searches were carried out in Laval, Mirabel, Rosemère and Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot. They came in addition to five other raids conducted in the past 48 hours in Vaudreuil-Dorion and in the Montreal boroughs of Anjou, Lachine and Montreal North.

According to information obtained by Noovo Info, the searches are related to information given by convicted hitman-turned-police informant Frederick Silva.

Among the homicides investigators hope to solve are those of three victims police say were mistakenly targeted: 

  • Lida Phon, 32, who was killed inside a home on Brunel Street in Laval in August 2012
  • Domenico Facchini, 37, who was shot dead in a café on Provencher Boulevard in Saint-Leonard, in December 2012
  • Nicolas Lavoie-Cloutier, 18, killed near Montée Major in Terrebonne in June 2018.

One of the raids occurred at the home of Jean-Philippe Celestin, who was reported to be a close associate of Gregory Woolley, the reputed influential organized crime figure killed in broad daylight last month.

Celestin himself was sent to prison for gangsterism, conspiracy, drug possession and trafficking in 2017.

Police also visited the home of Vito Salvaggio. In 2022, he was sentenced to four years in prison relating to a Hells Angels drug operation, and was reported to be in a position of power after Vito Rizzuto's death.  

Police said the searchers were aimed at gathering additional evidence. No arrests were reported Thursday and police said they would not provide further details to "protect the integrity of the investigation."

Anyone with information relating to these homicides is asked to contact Info-Crime Montréal anonymously and confidentially at 514 393-1133 or the SQ at 1-800-659-426

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