Saturday, January 26, 2019

Street Gang peace in Montreal all about money

Gregory Woolley at HA Lionel Deschamps funeral in November 2015The first street gangs appeared more than 30 years ago in Montreal. The Bloods (Red) of Montreal-North, the Crips (Blue) of Saint-Michel and the Jamaican Posse in the West Island of Montreal fired on each other every week. From January 2006 to December 2007, street gangs were involved in 26 homicides and 96 attempted murders. It was war.

By 2012, long-time rivals became allies under the rule of Gregory Woolley, the only black gangster to be admitted into both the Hells Angels family and Montreal mafia. Gangsters learned an economic alliance was preferred to feuds because the criminal trade was big enough for everyone. In 2017 and 2018, out of a total of 15 murders attributable to organized crime in Montreal, none were connected to street gangs. By working together they were far less visible to police.
Toronto has had a record year of 96 murders. Mayor John Tory said gangs were involved in 75% of the killings and 424 shootings in 2018. The business model of street gangs and their biker and mafia partners in Quebec is unique. Part of the reason is that the Hells Angels don't control all illicit markets as strongly as in Quebec. Criminologists say gangs elsewhere are fighting over crumbs. With a level of maturity and well-established hierarchy with other crime groups, the rules are clear in Montreal, and the cake is shared.
Like Vito Rizzuto was for the Italian mafia, Gregory Woolley is seen as the "godfather of blacks." He plays a critical role in Montreal's underworld. His meetings on August 5, 2014 give a convincing example. In the morning he met Andrea Scoppa, a big Mafia man. Two hours later he met with Salvatore Cazzetta and St├ęphane Jarry, two high-ranking Hells Angels. He completed his day with an hour talk with acting mafia boss Stefano Sollecito.

Last October, Woolley was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy, drug trafficking and gangsterism. He could be released on parole by the end of 2020.