Canadian mob figure Daniele (Dark Danny) Ranieri was killed in Cancun, Mexico earlier this year while on the run from the law, dodging an extortion indictment out of Ontario in 2015. The 33-year old Ranieri was the Rizzuto crime family’s crew boss in Toronto. He was found in a beachside ditch in February, bound, gagged and shot twice in the back of the head. Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials told the media of Ranieri’s death this week at a press conference.

Back in the spring, rumors spread that the young mafia lieutenant had been slain in a drug-world massacre in Los Cabos, Mexico in December 2017 where a half dozen dopers were found hanging from three different bridges in the resort town on the same night. The RCMP eventually shot down those rumors at a press conference in July.

The last confirmed sighting of Dark Danny Ranieri was in Havana, Cuba around Christmas in 2015. Authorities have traced his landing in Mexico to at least the fall of 2017.

Dark Danny’s rise in the Rizzuto crime family was a swift one.

Before his 30th birthday, he had been given oversight of the Montreal-based Rizzuto clan’s Ontario operations. He took over the syndicate’s crew in Toronto from his mob mentor, musclebound Juan (Joe Bravo) Fernandez, killed in Sicily in 2014, a casualty of the gangland war that has ripped through practically every nook and cranny of the Canadian underworld the past decade and resulted in hundreds of dead bodies.

Fernandez was don Vito Rizzuto’s man in Toronto before Fernandez was deported to Europe and he and Rizzuto fell out because Rizzuto felt Fernandez wasn’t offering him enough support in the war he was fighting to protect his mob kingdom. Rizzuto died suddenly of cancer in 2013, six months prior to Fernandez’s murder.

Ranieri was a building contractor and feared mob enforcer for Fernandez in the late 2000s. He served three prison-stints for robbery, assault, bookmaking and firearm offenses. When he was locked up, Ranieri got caught peddling drugs and had time tacked on to the end of his most recent bid for threatening a corrections officer. It was in prison where Ranieri met and became friends with Fernandez.

Dark Danny Ranieri

Joe Bravo was deported from Canada in January 2012, finally settling in Sicily. With Fernandez gone from Toronto, the handsome, coffee-skinned, heavily-tattooed Ranieri became his eyes and ears on the street. Ranieri had the words “Cosa Nostra” tattooed across his chest. In 2010, Joe Bravo was intercepted on tape telling other higher-ups in the Montreal mob that he wanted to propose Ranieri for membership.

A trip by Ranieri to visit Fernandez abroad actually alerted Sicilian police to Fernandez’s whereabouts in Palermo. Dark Danny’s visit to Sicily in July 2012 allowed the cops to pinpoint Joe Bravo’s exact location, as a surveillance squad followed Ranieri from the airport to a meeting with his boss at the Hotel Da Franco Il Conte in the town of Bagheria. An informant in Canada tipped off the RCMP of Ranieri’s travel itinerary and RCMP made law enforcement in Sicily aware of his exact arrival time.

According to his indictment, Ranieri’s face-to-face with Fernandez in the summer of 2012 was to warn him of Rizzuto’s displeasure with his decision to “sit things out” in the war he was engulfed in back in Canada. Upon his return to Toronto, Ranieri was bumped up into Fernandez’s crew boss slot

Ranieri’s name made it into testimony in April as part of a drug and racketeering trial in Toronto. A witness told jurors that Dark Danny taught him to put Vaseline on his face and hands prior to doing murders to avoid getting gun residue on yourself. One piece of audio surveillance played for the jury heard one mobster telling another, “Danny, that guy right there is a psychopath, he’s crazy man…..I hung around the guy for a week, after that, I was like ‘I can’t keep this guy by me no more…he’s fucking crazy (he’s going to bring all kinds of heat). I don’t need

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