Despite rumors of his demise circulating the Toronto and Montreal underworlds, respectively, 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 local 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 sighting of Ranieri was in Havana around Christmas in 2015. Before his 30th birthday he had been given oversight of the Montreal-based Rizzuto crime family’s Toronto wing, per a number of sources, media reports and government documents. It’s alleged Ranieri grabbed the reins of the Toronto crew upon the 2014 murder of his mentor, Juan (Joe Bravo) Fernandez, in Sicily.

Headquartered in Bolton, Ontario, Ranieri was a building contractor and feared mob enforcer, known on the street for being ambitious and eager to please his superiors in the syndicate. 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 2012. While Fernandez was in Europe — finally settling in Sicily –, the coffee-skinned, heavily-tattooed Ranieri became his eyes and ears on the street. Ranieri famously had “Cosa Nostra” tatted 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 in the crime syndicate.

The unabashed loyalty Ranieri afforded Fernandez 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. Palermo’s anti-mafia unit was tipped off to Ranieri’s pending arrival a task force in Canada which had been alerted by an informant of Dark Danny’s pending trip overseas.

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 joined forces to try and unseat the incarcerated Godfather at the tail end of doing eight years behind bars in America for a triple murder back in New York in the 1980s. 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.

Daniele’s name made it into testimony in April as part of a drug and racketeering trial in Toronto. One witness told jurors that Daniele 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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