With the help of the Ontario Provincial Police, Montreal police have arrested a 28-year-old man in connection to the fatal shooting of Montreal Mafia member Moreno Gallo’s daughter-in-law last month.
Claudia Iacono, 39, was shot five times at 4:30 p.m. on May 16 in the parking lot of her beauty salon, Salon Deauville, in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said the suspect was arrested Tuesday night in Milton, Ont., near Toronto.
A spokesperson for Quebec’s prosecutor, the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales, said Joel Richard Clarke is accused of committing first-degree murder in Iacono’s death.
Cmdr. Jean-Sébastien Caron, who heads the SPVM’s major crimes unit, held a news conference Wednesday, saying the investigation is ongoing.
“The motive, we’re not able to give you that right now,” said Caron, but the Crown saw fit to charge the man with first-degree murder.
“A lot of things are going on in Montreal right now, and we have all the information linked to this man.”
Caron said he cannot say if Iacono was the intended target or not.
He declined to link the killing to organized crime, saying it’s difficult to make that connection, but, given the first-degree murder charge, it’s clear the suspect wanted to kill Iacono or another person.
“It’s pretty difficult to say this is the mafia,” said Caron.
He said the suspect is known to Canadian police and has been connected to violent crime in the past.
Iacono was Montreal’s eighth murder of the year 2023.
“I am very proud of the investigators in this case,” said Caron. “It’s rare we have an arrest for first-degree murder in three weeks.”
There have been several violent incidents connected to Montreal-area organized crime in recent months.
Francesco Del Balso was shot dead near the corner of Deacon Street and St-Régis Boulevard in Dorval in Montreal’s West Island on Monday.
According to organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso, who teaches the subject at Queen’s University, Del Balso once managed gambling for the Rizzuto crime family.
Nicaso said Del Balso specialized in illegal betting activities, but his efforts to carve out his own space in the field of gambling and extortion led to a clash with the Rizzuto clan.
When there is violence like this, it shows a power imbalance among criminal organizations, he said.
Del Balso’s murder confirms the mafia war in Montreal is “not yet over,” said Nicaso, but it’s not clear how far the battle will extend.