Montreal organized crime figure Raynald Desjardins sentenced to 14 years

By The Canadian Press
December 19, 2016 - 9:45am

MONTREAL — Raynald Desjardins, a reported leading figure in Montreal's organized crime networks with ties to the notorious Rizzuto family, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday.

Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent agreed to the sentence, which was jointly recommended by the Crown and defence.

Desjardins, 61, pleaded guilty last year to a reduced charge of conspiracy to commit murder. In exchange for the plea, the Crown removed the first-degree murder charge.

The charges were related to the 2011 assassination of Salvatore Montagna, who was reportedly trying to take a leading role in a Montreal-based organized crime network.

Due to the time he has served since his arrest, Desjardins has another six-and-a-half years remaining in his sentence.

Defence lawyer Marc Labelle said his client was relieved.

"It's something we had been negotiating for a long time," he told reporters at the Montreal courthouse. "The original charges were very serious. For us, conspiracy to commit murder satisfies the parties."

Crown prosecutor Alexis Gauthier also expressed satisfaction with the sentence.

Gauthier reminded reporters that the evidence against Desjardins was complex and included thousands of encrypted Blackberry messages police intercepted during their investigation.

"We're talking about evidence that was extremely technical that posed significant challenges for the prosecution," he said. "We're also talking about the difficulty for the prosecution of proving the identity of the person who sent those (Blackberry) messages."

Desjardins was reportedly a high-level associate to Vito Rizzuto, who died in 2013.

The Canadian Press

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