Tuesday, 22 July 2014


As we mentioned in our posting of June 20, 2014, there was an important Ottawa conference on organized crime held in early 1966 for all the provincial ministers of justice of the day. The meeting took place in Ottawa on January 6th and 7th and, according to the press of the day, a major RCMP report was presented. 
The report, which we have now received through inter-library loan from the National Archives and which, at the time raised prominent Page 1 headlines in the Vancouver Sun, is rather disappointing upon reading. 
We had been hopeful that a report which generated such newspaper headlines as “Crime rings grow” and “Fear, payoffs aid syndicates” would have named some names. We had hoped that the RCMP report would have told the gathered provincial justice ministers and attorneys general the names of at least some of the people involved with organized crime  -- especially in Ontario and Quebec (the provinces which the report said harboured most of Canada’s organized crime). We had wanted names. Alas there were no names. Or, at least, not in the document which we have received; however it is likely that, given some of the comments in the news stories of the time clearly referring to certain individuals, during the private sessions of the conference names may have been mentioned. Probably libel laws prevented their publication. 
Some interesting definitions occur in the report: Organized crime, for example, is described “as a social organism within the social body, whose business is crime and (whose) purpose or objects are criminal.” 
Syndicated crime was described as “[an association] of criminals which is so highly organized that it has exclusive control of crime over a given area – in other words a monopoly.”
It is interesting to note that about six years earlier United States Attorney-General Robert F Kennedy had the Bureau of Narcotics draw up an 800 page dossier (one criminal per page) on organized crime in the United States. The Bureau, however, did not confine its investigations to the USA. The dossier also covers Canada and in its pages (all of which were published in 2007 under the title “Mafia” by Harper Collins) appear 21 names of people (all men except for one Grace Pine) who either lived in Canada or had business dealings there of a alleged criminal nature. The names contained in the book are Antonio Rocco CAPONIGRO, Vincenzo COTRONI, Guiseppe COTRONI, Earl CORALLUZO, Jean Baptiste CROCE, Antonio D’AGOSTINO, Frank DIOGUARDI, Dante GASBARRINI, Salvatore GIGLIO, Ange Dominique LUCIANI, Harold MELTZER, Pasquale MONACHINO, Saverio MONACHINO, Paul Damien MONDOLONI, Peter PELLEGRINO, Grace PINE, Salvatore Peter RIZZO, Salvatore SALLI, Francois SPIRITO, Antonio SYLVESTRO and Guiseppe VECCHIO. Note the preponderance of Italian-sounding names.
Then refer back to the RCMP report, which says:
...these groups [i.e. the individuals described as “an association of criminals”] maintain a close working relationship and personal ties with many of the USA based syndicates, and it is significant that many of these USA groups have recently been labelled as “Mafia” by the US Senate Sub Committee on Organized Crime. The Canadian groups also maintain connections with criminal elements in Southern Italy and Sicily, which the Italian authorities call “Mafiosa”, and with criminals in other urban areas of Canada where commercial development and high population density offers potentially fertile breeding grounds for development of lucrative crime.
The RCMP report noted that organized crime had existed in Canada for many years, particularly in narcotics trafficking, bootlegging and smuggling. It had begun in Montreal and had, for a number of years starting in the early 1950s, been run by American gangsters who, however, had been pressured out of Canada – according to the report -- on a wave of public indignation, a combination of police work and efforts by certain federal government departments. Our own research has shown us that many individuals in drug trafficking organizations in Vancouver during the 1950s, 60s and 70s had connections to Montreal, which was the port of entry for much of the heroin flowing into North America from Marseilles – the so-called “French Connection”.
The RCMP Report took a somewhat sociological approach and described organized crime as made of three levels (“a fairly efficient and well organized administrative system”):
1.      Directors
2.      Administrators (often called Lieutenants)
3.      Labourers (the common criminals)
In a comment that seems perhaps particularly appropriate to Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan who, for the approximately eight years between his release from jail in Alberta and his arrest on drug trafficking charges in late December 22, 1965, lived a quiet and apparently respectable life, the RCMP Report notes that:
The leaders seldom conform to the usual concept of the common criminal. Many pose and are accepted as members of the business world, or as members of reputable professional fields. Many have never been charged with a criminal offence. Some possess only very minor criminal records, although they have led a persistent life of crime for many years past. 
Most of the 21 people named four paragraphs above had their Canadian connection in Montreal. It is thus worth noting then that, a little over five years later in the Columbian of Monday, June 18, 1971, New Westminster Det. Sgt. Ray Thompson recounted the details of the MacLauchlan Murder case. He stated that the police had managed to pinpoint the route taken by the “executioner” from Montreal to Vancouver and back to Montreal again. He said the route had involved flying from Montreal to Chicago, then on to Detroit, Seattle and Victoria.
So, it is entirely reasonable to assume that one or more of the 21 people named above either knew the executioner or knew of him.