Despite rumors of his demise circulating both the Toronto and Montreal underworlds in recent months, Canadian mafia lieutenant Daniele (Dark Danny) Ranieri remains on the run from the law. The 33-year Rizzuto crime family crew boss, a fugitive for more than two years, wasn’t one of the victims of a well-publicized drug-world massacre in Los Cabos, Mexico, late last year, Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed to the media last week.

RCMP speculates the young, powerful and quick-tempered mob leader is either in Mexico, the United States, Cuba, Italy or Venezuela. Six drug dealers were found hanging from three different bridges in the resort town on the same night last December.

The last confirmed sighting of Ranieri was in Havana around Christmas in 2015. Authorities received tips in recent months placing him in Mexico.

Dark Danny Ranieri rose fast in the Rizzuto organization.

Before even his 30th birthday, he had been given oversight of the Montreal-based Rizzuto clan’s Ontario satellite. It’s alleged Ranieri grabbed the reins of the Toronto crew from his mentor, the swarthy Juan (Joe Bravo) Fernandez, slain in Sicily in 2014.

Headquartered in Bolton, Ontario, Ranieri worked as a building contractor while making a name for himself in the local underworld as a feared enforcer for Fernandez in the late 2000s. He has already served three prison-stints (two federal, one province) 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 last sentence for threatening a corrections officer. It was in prison where Ranieri met and became friends with Fernandez, who was legendary Montreal mafia don Vito Rizzuto’s main muscle in the Toronto area.

Joe Bravo was deported from Canada in early 2012. While Fernandez was in Europe — finally settling in Sicily –, the handsome, coffee-skinned, heavily-tattooed Ranieri became his eyes and ears on the street. Ranieri took extreme pride in his connection to the mob and had “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 vacation by Ranieri to visit Fernandez in Europe alerted Sicilian police to Fernandez’s whereabouts in Palermo. Dark Danny’s trip 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. Palermo’s anti-mafia unit was tipped off to Ranieri’s pending arrival by a task force in Canada which had been alerted to the trip by an informant

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 lack of support in the raging mob war that was enveloping Canada, as multiple factions in the Montreal crime family had joined forces to try and unseat the cagey Godfather. The running tally of bodies in the mob war approaching it’s ten-year anniversary next year is in the triple digits. Rizzuto died suddenly of cancer in 2013.

Ranieri’s name made it into testimony in April as part of a drug and racketeering trial in Toronto. One witness told jurors that Ranieri taught him to put Vaseline on his face and hands prior to doing murders to avoid getting gun residue on yourself. On a 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 that.”

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