In a case of life imitating art, a once-popular Quebec actor known for his role as a mobster is on trial this week, accused of drug trafficking.

Tony Conte, 47, was made famous for his role as handsome, suave mobster Vincenzo Spadollini on the hugely popular Radio-Canada television series Omerta.

But in 2008, the TV gangster was suspected of being a real-life gangster, when Conte was arrested in a police sting operation targeting a drug cartel planning to import massive quantities of cocaine to Canada.

"The charges are conspiracy to traffic, trafficking narcotics, and possession in view of trafficking," said prosecutor David-Emmanuel Simon.

Ironically, the actor was arrested by undercover police officers playing the role of gangsters.

Though during jury selection, candidates were asked if they were familiar with Conte's work; about half said they had seen him on television, and several expressed surprise about the fact the once popular actor is now sitting in the prisoner's box.

The trial continues Tuesday.