Decision coming on parole for drug smuggler who tried to kidnap Mafia leader

Christian Deschênes is serving a 45-year sentence that began in 1988 and grew as he reoffended while out on previous releases.

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A notorious organized-crime figure who used to be tied to the Montreal Mafia was told Thursday he will have to wait a few days before the Parole Board of Canada decides on whether he should be granted day parole.

Following a parole hearing that lasted more than two hours, parole board member Marie-Claude Frenette told


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The Sûreté du Québec was investigating the armed robbery when it uncovered the plot to kidnap the two men. Deschênes and an accomplice were arrested while they were on their way to the Rizzuto organization’s hangout in St-Léonard.

On Thursday, Deschênes said there was actually a different motive behind “what happened in 2001.”

“In 2001 they killed the son of my best friend. That is what it was about. It was about loyalty,” he said, without identifying the friend.

Deschênes said that when he was released in 2000 he had no plans to return to organized crime. He had a job and was making an honest living, he said, but the death of his friend’s son “sucked me back” into the criminal milieu.

“I did what I had to do,” he said. “It was loyalty to one person. They killed him for some nebulous reason.”


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In October, Deschênes was granted access to unescorted leave privileges. On Thursday he said he wants to be granted day parole because his longtime girlfriend is very ill and he wants to be able to comfort her.

“I am now loyal to the people I love,” Deschênes said after his parole officer informed the board that his case management team — the people who prepare an offender for a release — supports his release plan.

Deschênes went on to say that if he happened to meet someone from the organized-crime milieu today, while out on parole, he would be polite but would also report the encounter to his parole officer.

“I think that the milieu has more important things to deal with than me,” he added, while arguing he has removed himself from that world.

His previous crimes included plots to smuggle 14 tonnes of hashish into Canada in 1986 (a conspiracy the police believed involved the now deceased Montreal Mafia leader Vito Rizzuto) and then 4,000 kilos of cocaine in 1992.

On Thursday, Deschênes said he decided to no longer be involved in drugs in the mid-1990s because two people he was close to saw their lives destroyed by drug addiction.

This story will be updated.

  1. Francesco Arcadi, the man police considered Vito Rizzuto's replacement in the Canadian Mafia, was among the organized crime figures arrested Wednesday November 22, 2006 in Montreal.

    Influential Montreal Mafia leader to be released soon

  2. A mugshot of Christian Deschenes

    Man who once plotted to kidnap Mafia leader is denied parole


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