From the Back Cover
“There is No Irish Mafia”
– Billy MacAllister
Since the city was founded, the gritty southwest end of Montreal has been a ghetto for immigrant laborers in the last century, the majority of them Irish. Choked by poverty, alcoholism and violence, and with little hope of improving their lot through legal means, some in the community turned to the underworld in search of easier work and better pay, and the risks be damned. Considered by some to be a close-knit and hierarchical cooperative, characterized by others as loose associates who have trouble turning down an opportunity for a quick score, Montreal’s Irish mafia—otherwise known as the West End Gang—has managed to pull off some of the most daring and logistically complicated robberies and smuggling operations in Canadian history.
From the early days as hired muscle for the Italian and Jewish mafias, tunneling into bank vaults in the ‘50s and ‘60s, to the legendary truck heists and bank stick-ups in the ‘70s, they’re infamous today for their role in narcotics smuggling through the Port of Montreal. Supplying the mafia and biker gangs wholesale—a single bust by the RCMP netted 22.5 tons of hashish destined for Montreal—West Enf Gang associates have been and remain an important part of the Canadian criminal community, establishing and maintaining connections to drug cartels worldwide.
Criminals of every stripe and character inhabit these pages, from the violent stick-up men and drug dealers such as the MacAllister Brothers to the highly complex important schemes of the “King of the Port” Gerry Matticks, as well as the saga of the charismatic “King of Coke” Dunie Ryan and his assissin Paul April, and successor, Alan “the Weasel” Ross. Through research and interviews with police investigators, convicted gang associates and others, journalist and author D’Arcy O’Connor narrates the genesis and rise to power of one of Montreal’s most powerful, colorful and violent gangs: Montreal’s Irish Mafia.
About the Author
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.