Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna (1971 – November 24, 2011) was an acting boss of the Bonanno crime family in New York City and the Sicilian faction-leader of the Bronx section. At the time of his death, he had been associated with the Rizzuto crime family of Montreal.
Montagna was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1971. He was raised in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. In the mid 1980s, at the age of 15 his family moved to the United States and settled in the Bronx, New York. It is unclear when Montagna became active in the life of crime or when he became a made man in the Bonanno crime family. During the late 1990s, Montagna's name was overheard in wiretapped conversations between Boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino and other reputed members of the Bonanno crime family.
Sal the Iron Worker
Little is known of Montagna's personal life other than that he married Francesca Carcione and lived in a modest home in Elmont, Long Island with her and his three daughters. He started a small metalworking company called Matrix Steel Co., located at 50 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, managed by his wife. Matrix Steel manufactures structural and rail mill products, gray and ductile iron foundry crucibles, foundry converters, casting machines, sizing or embossing presses, foundry mold machines and foundry dies and tooling. It was around this time that Montagna was given the nickname "Sal the Iron Worker".
In 2002, Montagna was arrested along with the crew of Patrick DeFilippo for illegal gambling and loansharking charges. He refused to answer questions before a grand jury and was charged with criminal contempt of court. He later pleaded guilty to the charge in 2003, and was placed on probation. In late 2003, US law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) listed Montagna as an "Acting Capo" and Caporegime of the Bonanno family on behalf of DeFilippo and the Sicilian faction based in the Bronx.
Acting boss - The "Bambino Boss"
After longtime Bonanno boss "Big Joe" Massino became a witness, testifying against 60 of his fellow mobsters, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was recognized as the reputed Boss of the Bonanno crime family, only to discover that Massino would testify against Basciano as well, shipping him directly off to prison. Around late 2005, Basciano stated that he would promote the Sicilian faction of the old Bonanno crew back into the family's leadership, as Montagna was recognized as the reputed acting boss of the Bonanno crime family from early 2006 until his death, with Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora as underboss and Anthony Rabito as consigliere, making the administration of the Bonanno crime family once again whole and safe. At that time, Montagna gained the nickname "Bambino Boss" due to his relative youth, being 36.
As of 2008, Montagna was still the reputed acting boss of the Bonannos, controlling the entire Bronx faction of the family, as the Daily News links Montagna to known Sicilian Bonanno official Baldassare "Baldo" Amato. He resided in a modest home in Elmont, Long Island.
In 2009, Montagna was detained by the USCIS. A 2003 conviction on illegal gambling and his refusal to become a government witness had earned him a five-year probation term. This allowed USCIS to deport him, having come within five years of obtaining a greencard, when it expired. While in Canada, he attempted to gain American residency. According to mob writer Jerry Capeci, it was understood Montagna would have no standing or authority within Montreal's then-dominant Rizzuto crime family.
Montreal area activities
After a slide in power of the Rizzuto family, Montagna started to show his influence. Months prior to the assassination of Nicolo Rizzuto, he had tried to convince the old patriarch to step down, and let younger blood rule.
In 2011, following the assassinations of several major Rizzuto mobsters starting in 2009, Montagna was identified as one of three major mobsters trying to fill the resulting power vacuum, if not take over the Montreal Mafia himself. He, along with Joe Di Maulo and Raynald Desjardins were trying to solidify power in the Rizzuto family. At the time of his death, he had been suspected of trying to shake down Montreal-area construction companies, due to their alliance with the Rizzuto family. He was considered the heir to the throne of the Rizzuto family.
The waterlogged body of Salvatore Montagna was found on November 24, 2011 on the shore of Île Vaudry on the L'Assomption River, in the city of Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, on Montreal's North Shore region (couronne nord). He had apparently been shot at least once that morning on Île-aux-Tresors in the city of Charlemagne, Quebec, across the river. It was reported that Montagna jumped in the river in an attempt to escape his killers.
Law enforcement believes that Montagna was brought to the house as his vehicle was later found parked on a Montreal street. The house was occupied by convicted smuggler Jack Arthur Simpson, who was held later on a parole violation. Six people were arrested and charged including Simpson and Raynald Desjardins, of Laval, Quebec by far the most significant. Once described as Vito Rizzuto’s right-hand man, Desjardins was the target of a failed assassination on September 16, 2011 when someone tried to kill him and his bodyguard near his home in Laval. In December 2016, Di Maulo's brother-in-law Raynald Desjardins received a total 14-year prison sentence for connection to the murder of Salvatore Montagna.
- (in French) 98.5FM, "La guerre de la mafia se transporte à Charlemagne", Alexandre Lebrun, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Daily Mail (London), "Former Mafia boss killed in city where 'he was trying to make his way to the top'", Richard Hartley-Parkinson, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Macleans, "Ex-N.Y. Mob boss found dead by river near Montreal", Canadian Press, 2011 November 24 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- New York Post, "Mob boss gets iced", Mitchel Maddux, Tim Perone, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- New York Daily News, "Former Bonanno crime family boss shot dead in Canada, two years after being deported for refusing to testify", Tina Moore, 24 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Newsday, "Former Bonanno boss found dead in Canada", Anthony M. Destefano, 24 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- "Feds: Montagna is new top man for Bonannos"
- Marzulli, John (2009-04-14). "Bonanno big Salvatore Montagna booted back to boondocks". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Capeci, Jerry (2010-01-11). "Mob Murder In Montreal Could Trigger Bloodshed In New York". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- The Globe and Mail, "Shot down in a ‘sloppy’ hit, another Montreal mobster dies", Les Perreaux, 24 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Cherry, Paul (2011-11-24). "Reputed mobster Salvatore Montagna killed near Montreal". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "High-ranking mobster Salvatore Montagna murdered". ctv.ca. 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- (in French) La Presse (Montreal), "Salvatore Montagna: le ferronnier devenu mafioso", André Noël, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Newser, "NYC Mob Boss Found Dead in Canada", Rob Queen, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- (in French) Journal de Montréal, "Le dauphin du parrain abattu", Daniel Renaud, 25 November 2011 (accessed 25 November 2011)
- Nov 24, 2011 3:52 PM ET (2011-11-24). "Mafia boss killed in Montreal region - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Paul Cherry (2011-11-25). "Reputed mobster dies after shooting". The Gazette (Montreal). Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Six arrested in Montagna slaying". Montreal Gazette.
- "Quebec mobster Raynald Desjardins gets 14 years in killing of rival". theglobeandmail.com. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- Policeone.com: FBI arrests 19 reputed members of N.Y. crime family by Anthony M. Destefano
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