Thursday, 7 August 2008

Giovanni Marra is one of two reputed members of the Montreal Mafia who have seen their parole revoked

Last year, Gallo, 62, serving a life sentence for taking part in a 1973 murder, halted his parole hearing because he was unwilling to discuss the evidence - which includes videotapes of him bringing large quantities of cash to Mafia leaders at their hangout in St. Léonard - with the possibility of new charges hanging over his head.In the 1980s and 1990s, Giovanni Marra helped Montreal mob boss Frank Cotroni move a lot of cocaine. Then after being released on parole in 2001 while serving a 14-year prison term for drug trafficking, Marra appeared to go on the straight and narrow and became a leading salesman at a car dealership.But it is his alleged penchant for selling the former that has seen Marra returned to a federal penitentiary where he was turned down for a new chance at parole last week.
According to a summary of the National Parole Board decision, the RCMP suspects Marra was again acting as a middleman in a conspiracy to import and traffic in cocaine.Marra, 55, is one of two reputed members of the Montreal Mafia who have seen their parole revoked because of evidence gathered during Projet Colisée, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation that ended in 2006 with about 90 arrests.Both Marra and Moreno Gallo have yet to be charged in connection with Projet Colisée. The evidence mostly involves them associating with known criminals, a violation of conditions they agreed to when released.Marra went through with his hearing on Thursday and told the two parole commissioners who heard his case that the meetings he had with other known criminals while out on parole were "innocent get-togethers." The parole board simply didn't believe him.Marra has two previous convictions for drug trafficking besides the sentence he is currently serving. In 1978, he received his first conviction and was sentenced to three years in a case heard in the United States.Four years later, he was arrested in Montreal after Réal Simard, a hitman for Cotroni, turned informant and told police he and Marra sold a kilo of cocaine together.In 1996, Marra and Cotroni, who died of brain cancer in 2004 at 72, were arrested in connection with a plot to smuggle 180 kilograms of cocaine into Canada. Marra quickly pleaded guilty in the case, but still received a stiff 14-year prison term because he was the key intermediary between the Colombian suppliers and Cotroni.Marra was released on parole five years later after swearing he had severed his ties to the Mafia and doing volunteer work at a shelter for abused women. After being released, he complained for years that one of his conditions - forbidding him from visiting bars - was limiting his ability to sell cars. The parole board finally agreed to modify the condition in 2006.Investigators now believe Marra used the opportunity to meet with other mobsters in bars.


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