Two males with alleged ties to Montreal Mafia charged with possession of firearms

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Two men who have been tied to influential figures in the Montreal Mafia in the past appeared before a judge at the Montreal courthouse on Thursday where they were charged with being in possession of firearms.

Both men made a brief appearance before a Quebec Court judge and were ordered detained for a possible bail hearing on Friday.

Francesco Catalano, 47, faces four charges in all including one that alleges he was in possession of a loaded Kel Tec Model PII semi-automatic handgun when he and the other man, Steve Casale, 38, of Laval, were arrested by the Montreal police on Wednesday. The charges filed against both men are that they were in possession of the firearms since April 18. A spokesperson for the Montreal police was unable to comment on the arrests on Thursday.

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Catalano has a previous criminal record for assault but it was his arrest, in June 2008, in the violent kidnapping of Nino (Nino Brown) De Bartolomeis, a man who, at the time, owed several people tied to the Montreal Mafia, that shows a connection to the organization. Danny (Arm) De Gregorio, 49, a man who was once considered a rising star in the Mafia, talked about the kidnapping when he appeared before the Parole Board of Canada last month. De Gregorio was serving a sentence for an unrelated crime and told the parole board he was summoned to the location where the De Bartolomeis was being held in an effort to convince his then friend to pay his debts.

Other people who were charged in the 2008 kidnapping included Salvatore Scoppa, the brother of Andrea (Andrew) Scoppa, the alleged head of a Calabrian clan in the Montreal Mafia and Ali Awada, a 28-year-old man who was murdered in Montreal North earlier this year. Salvatore Scoppa was the only person who ended up being convicted in connection with the 2008 kidnapping. Charges against nine other men, including Catalano, Awada and De Gregorio, were dropped because De Bartolomeis gave conflicting statements to police.

Casale does not have a criminal record in Quebec. But, in 2011, the RCMP took note that Casale attended the wedding of Vittorio Mirarchi, 49, an alleged Mafia leader who was part of the plot to murder Mafioso Salvatore Montagna in November 2011. The wedding was held in the Bahamas, on Nov. 20, 2009, and the guest list was presented as evidence during Mirarchi’s failed attempt to get bail a few years ago. Mirarchi is still awaiting his sentence for his role in the conspiracy to murder Montagna.

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