Quebec police, along with several other agencies, arrested twenty-nine people in what they’re calling “Project Clemenza.”  Three men remain at large, including 49-year-old Giovanni Gerbasi of Gatineau.  Police say it dismantled two Italian-based organized crime cells that were operating throughout the province of Quebec, involved in a variety of crimes.  Police say they intercepted Blackberry Messenger messages that helped them identify the suspects involved in a series of violent crimes between 2010 and 2012.  They say the individuals were responsible for arson, weapon cache, forcible confinement, drug trafficking, gangsterism and conspiracy.

Over one million private messages were intercepted and analyzed as evidence, the first time that this technique was used on such a large scale in a major investigation in North America. One of the cells investigated was associated to the Bastone brothers and the other was associated to the now deceased Giuseppe De Vito.  Those arrested face 87 charges including conspiracy, gangsterism, drug importation, trafficking and possession, kidnapping and forcible confinement, possession of weapons and explosives, arson, extortion, assault.  Gerbasi remains at large at this point, along with 23-year-old Hussein Abdallah of Montreal and 5-year-old Patrizio Silvano of Laval.

The investigation involved several agencies including the Sûreté du Québec, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, the Service de police de la Ville de Laval, Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Revenue Agency and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).