Montreal's Irish Mafia: The True Story of the Infamous West End Gang

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John Wiley & Sons, Mar 21, 2011 - True Crime - 272 pages
3 Reviews
Their names resonate with organized crime in Montreal: the Matticks, MacAllisters, Johnstons and Griffins, and Peter Dunie Ryan. They are the Irish equivalent of the infamous Rizzuto and Cotroni families, and the "Mom" Bouchers and Walter Stadnicks of the Hells Angels. Award-winning producer, journalist and author D’Arcy O’Connor narrates the genesis and rise to power of one of Montreal’s most powerful, violent and colorful criminal organizations. It is the West End Gang, whose members controlled the docks and fought the Hells Angels and Mafia for their share of the city’s prostitution, gambling, loan sharking and drug dealing. At times, they did not disdain forging alliances with rival gangs when huge profits were at stake, or when a killing needed to be carried out. 

The West End Gang—the Irish Mafia of Montreal—is a legendary beast. They sprang out of the impoverished southwest of the city, some looking for ways to earn enough just to survive, some wanting more than a job in an abattoir or on a construction site. In that sense, they were no different from other immigrants from Italy and other European countries. A shortcut to wealth was their common goal. And Montreal, with its burgeoning post-WWII population, was ripe for the picking.

The Irish Mob made headlines with a spectacular Brinks robbery in 1976, using the money to broker a major heroin and cocaine trafficking ring. It took over the Port of Montreal, controlling the flow of drugs into the city, drugs which the Mafia funnelled to New York. The West End Gang had connections to the cocaine cartel in Colombia; hashish brokers in Morocco and France; and marijuana growers in Mexico. The gang imported drugs on an enormous scale. One bust that took place off the coast of Angola in 2006 involved 22.5 tonnes of hashish, destined for Montreal. 

The West End Gang is a ripping tale that unveils yet another chapter in Montreal’s colorful criminal underworld.

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The majority of men mentioned in this book were, and are, in fact gentlemen. I have been fortunate enough to know most of them. In fact, you might say they raised me. You would be shocked to learn the degree of their honour and decency. Some may call them criminals, I call them businessmen. They just handle the business that others can't or won't. I find the book to be a fun light read, the author did happen to get most of the players right, however as for "why's , and the "how's" the author relies heavily on police and court reports. That being said, if the police knew everything, there would be a lot more of us in jail for a lot longer. I would say the book is about 40% accurate which when you consider the material and the people involved isn't too bad. Maybe, one day I will put pen to paper and offer a first person point of view, maybe :)

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I am a direct blood member of the families you are reading about in this so called true story. I have managed to keep my name out of the authors print. But I have not done so well when it comes to avoiding the law. I personally stopped robbing banks when I was in my youth, lets face it, banks now are so tight you must make an appointment if you want to get your own money out of them, that is if its over 5 k, and as for the selling of drugs, well I stopped doing that only last year. Lets say I am a slow learner. Now I too have learnt the pen is mightier than the sword and now also write books. But the story lines I write about are fiction. I have always said that every good lie has some truth to it, and that is what makes that lie believable. Like my book A heart from within. I can tell you one thing for certain, as far as the names being mentioned in this book, well many of them I am directly related too. And most of the rest of them I have known them, and their families, and the waps and their families included, all my life. I have known all of them my 57 years of life and am still friends with them because I was born into that world. I come from three generations of Irish English speaking residents of Point Saint Charles. We are people who love and respect our families just like you should yours, and the laws that we mostly broke were ones where the government does not like competition in. I have never to this day seen anyone die of a hash overdose, have you? Many on the other hand do die of the tax driven drugs that we call cigarettes and valium ect. The author plays the guessing game and he uses the police files to prove what he has written is the truth behind his story line. Anyone with half a brain knows they are mostly just their version as too the Who, How, and Why of his story. When it comes down too it, who got killed and for what reason his versions of the facts, like most versions in this book are as usual just bullshit, along with what he said was the reason why my family and my friends and myself started in the drug business to start off with. I have never given the police a statement or done something that I feel immoral. Stuff like stealing off a working man, or rape, ect. I did rob a lot of banks when I was a kid and I went to prison because of it. As for why we robbed bank well the money I got, and my friends who were mentioned in this book got, wasn't to fund the drug trade. Drugs were a latter part of our legacy. We robbed banks so we could go out to night clubs and help us fund being male sluts. And that is the truth. If your ever going to believe a story just think about this. What is the purpose behind this story. It is to sell books right, so remember with that being said. Read this book like any other work of fiction, because that's what it is, a work of fiction. There is an element of evil within us all the only question we have to ask ourselves is what is the true cause of it. Yours Truly PJF 


The Irish Invasion
Most of His Children Turned Out To Be Thieves
Calabrians and Sicilians
Montreals Jewish Mafia
The Emergence of the West End Gang
The Murderous Decades
Bank Robbery Capital of North America
Digging for Treasure
The King of Coke
The Death of Dunie Ryan and Its Fallout
The Emperor of Coke
The MacAllister Family
Gerald Matticks King of the Port
The Bloody Biker War
The RCMPs Largest Drug Seizure
The Gelding of Montreals Italian Mafia

The Crime of the Century
The Rubber Duck Squad
Follow the Money
An Uncommon Thief
Tobacco The Mobs Latest Addiction
Montreals Modern Street Gangs

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About the author (2011)

D’Arcy O’Connor is a veteran journalist, script writer, documentary producer, book author and round-the-world sailor. He has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the Montreal Gazette, People magazine, National Geographic, and as far aboard as Sydney, Australia’s Daily Telegraph, and the Australian. Among his books credits are The Money Pit (Putnam), The Big Dig (Ballantine), and The Secret Treasure of Oak Island (Lyons Press). Among his associate producer credits are a segment on Oak Island for ABC, the CBC/NFB’s “Valour and the Horror,” winner of three Gemini awards, and CBC/NFB’s “The Ware at Sea,” a docudrama on Canada’s role in the North Atlantic in WWII. He teaches English and journalism at Montreal’s Dawson College.

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