Frédérick Silva is reportedly being investigated in up to a dozen murders.
The man who was arrested Saturday and charged with carrying out two murders as well as a failed hit on the brother of an alleged leader in the Montreal Mafia spent much of his adult life behind bars before he allegedly became a hit man.
Frédérick Silva, 38, was arrested by heavily armed members of a tactical squad while he was out for a walk around 1 a.m. in Old Montreal, near the corner of Duke St. and de la Commune St. W. His arrest put an end to a long search that began on June 2, 2017, after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the first-degree murder of Daniel Somoza-Gildea, a Concordia student who died on May 24, 2017, after he was shot when an argument that started inside the Cabaret les Amazones spilled out into the strip bar’s parking lot.
According to police sources, Silva is believed to have operated as a hit man for organized crime groups before and after he went into hiding to avoid being arrested for Somoza-Gildea’s death. Just months after Somoza-Gildea was killed, another warrant was issued for Silva’s arrest in a case in which he is alleged to have tried to kill Salvatore Scoppa, the brother of alleged Montreal Mafia leader Andrea Scoppa, in a failed hit carried out in Terrebonne on Feb. 17, 2017.
Hours after he was arrested on Saturday, Silva was also charged at the Montreal courthouse with the first-degree murder of Alessandro Vinci, 31, the sales manager of a Laval car dealership who was gunned down on Oct. 11.
Silva is also reportedly a suspect in the death of Sébastien Beauchamp, a former member of a Hells Angels support club called the Rockers, who was shot in St-Léonard on Dec. 20. Silva has not been charged in connection with Beauchamp’s death, but Giovanni Presta Jr., a 33-year-old Terrebonne resident who was also arrested on Saturday, has been charged with first-degree murder in that case. According to La Presse, police believe Presta Jr. rented, drove and helped hide the vehicle used in the hit on Beauchamp.
Presta and a woman named Sonia Langlais also face eight charges in connection with what the police found inside their home in Terrebonne on Saturday, including the possession of prohibited firearms and silencers.
On Wednesday, Silva’s case was brought before Quebec Court Judge Julie Riendeau for what turned out to be a formality hearing. Silva was not required to be present for the brief hearing and Riendeau carried the case over to March 13. Prosecutor Marie-Claude Bourassa made no mention of whether other charges might be filed against Silva. According to an article published by the Journal de Montréal earlier this month, Silva is being investigated as a suspect in up to a dozen murders tied to organized crime, including a few murders in the Toronto area.
The most wanted man in Quebec before his arrest on Saturday started his criminal career at the age of 18 when he and an accomplice carried out a series of armed robberies inside 14 banks and eight Italian cafés in Montreal in 1998. Their modus operandi was to walk into a bank or café armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a fake handgun while they ordered everyone inside to lie on the floor and hand over their valuables.
In 1999, Silva received a five-year prison term after he pleaded guilty to several armed robbery charges. According to his parole records from that period, his criminal record was initially believed to be attributable to his addiction to drugs. But a few months after he was sentenced, Silva underwent an evaluation and the psychologist who performed it found: “Your criminality is not totally dependent on your addiction to drugs. (The psychologist) found two parallel problems: depressed and painful feelings from a very difficult childhood and the second being a misdirected expression of hatred toward parental figures, displaced toward authority figures.”
While out on parole on July 15, 2001, Silva stabbed his own friend by accident after they got involved in an altercation inside a night club in Montreal. At the time, the police believed that Silva started the trouble inside the club and that he pulled out a knife as he and his friend tried to leave and that he stabbed the man in the process.
Just eight months after the sentence he received for the robberies carried out in the cafés and bars expired, Silva resumed his criminal career by co-ordinating a series of violent home invasions along with two other men. During one of the robberies, a grandmother was assaulted while her children and grandchildren watched in horror. In 2007, Silva received a 66-month prison term after he was convicted on charges related to the home invasions.