The 2005 murder of Canadian mobster Johnny Bertolo set off the epic Montreal mob war that continues to rage to this very day. One of his best friends recently went missing, bringing the Bertolo hit back into the spotlight.

The 46-year old Bertolo was a close ally of powerful Rizzuto crime family lieutenant Raynald Desjardins and his brother Jacques, who he was busted with in a narcotics conspiracy case back in the 1990s. Jacques Desjardins, 68, disappeared last week, most likely the latest casualty in the bloody conflict which has a body count approaching, if not exceeding, triple figures.

Raynald Desjardins had been then-Quebec Godfather Vito Rizzuto’s right-hand man until, according to two RCMP detectives speaking exclusively to Gangster Report, an imprisoned Rizzuto ordered Bertolo’s killing from behind bars for an unknown-slight years prior. That murder contract sent Desjardins into a fit of anger that resulted in him turning on his former boss, per the detectives, and chaos enveloping the streets of Montreal for the foreseeable future.

Rizzuto was jailed a year before the Bertolo hit in 2004 for his role in the infamous 1981 “Three Capos Murders” in New York. Desjardins had just been released from prison for his role in a cocaine smuggling ring.

Just months removed from his own stint locked up on a drug charge (he did seven years), Bertolo was slain by three gunmen as he left the Metropolis Gym in Riviere des Prairies on August 11, 2005 after a workout. He was felled as he walked towards his black-colored BMW in the parking lot of the gym and died at the hospital hours later. Police found the getaway car, a Mazda Protégé, abandoned and on fire several blocks away.

Per RCMP records, Bertolo, 46, was a racketeer with ties to labor unions and the construction industry. Desjardins, 65, is currently doing 14 years in prison for orchestrating the November 2011 murder of his one-time partner in the palace coup targeting the Rizzuto regime, Salvatore (Sal the Iron Worker) Montagna, a transplanted New York mob boss deported to Canada in the late 2000s.

Montagna and Desjardins had joined forces to oppose an incarcerated Rizzuto before they had their own falling out and began stalking each other. The dapper and stately Montreal don died of cancer in 2013, a little over a year following his release from an American prison and in the wake of him losing his son, father and brother-in-law to the carnage-filled feud.

Desjardins survived a September 2011 assassination attempt when a gunman dispatched by the overly-ambitious 40-year old Montagna opened fire on him in the same neighborhood Bertolo was killed six years earlier. In the hours after the attack, Desjardins was seen meeting with Bertolo’s brother, Joe, at a nearby construction site. Joe Bertolo represented Desjardins that same day at a meeting with Montagna inside a Montreal area Tim Horton’s doughnut shop.

Vito Rizzuto (L) & Jacques Desjardins (R) in better days

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