Giuseppe "Pep" Cotroni
   Giuseppe Cotroni, Vic's younger  brother, was born on  February 22, 1920 in Calabria, Italy. When he was only four, the family immigrated to Montreal's Italian section.

     He made his name mainly as a specialist in armed robbery and fencing stolen  goods. By 1937, "Pep", as he was often called, had  been charged eight times for such  offenses. In 1949, Cotroni  was jailed for  receiving stolen bonds. He  was released from  St. Vincent de Paul prison  in April, 1953, after serving almost four years.

     Jail did not alter Cotroni's view on crime though and, in the autumn of 1954, the RCMP learned that he had become partners with Lucien Rivard
in heroin trafficking. Drugs would be  imported by Corsican traffickers and smuggled to American customers by the Montreal organization. Pep's older brother Vic and Luigi Greco were his principal financial backers in the drug business and received a cut of the proceeds.

     Cotroni travelled to Paris on March 14, 1957 and was followed by agents of the French central office for narcotics. They tailed him to the
Le Francais bar but "Pep" must have sensed something was wrong and  left after a brief  moment. Minutes later, police  noticed Corsican drug  trafficker Jean-Baptiste Croce enter the bar.

     On November 14, 1957, "Pep" Cotroni  and Luigi Greco represented  Montreal at the infamous Apalachin Mafia conference. The meeting was interrupted when a New York State police  trooper
Montreal Mafia
noticed a  large number of  black limousines in the  area. 60 wiseguys were  arrested as they  tried to flee but almost  as many, including the Montrealers, escaped.

     Cotroni, accompanied by Luigi Greco and some  employees  of the
Bonfire resturant, vacationed  at his Ste. Adele  cottage one  weekend. Around 5pm, the  group sat down and drank from  a bottle of anisette. Cotroni, Gaston Savard, and Ernest Costello began feeling  harsh pains in their stomachs and legs and were taken to the hospital for treatment. Cotroni  and Savard, who had  only taken sips, survived  but Costello,
who had  drank his entire  glass, died of poisoning. Police  discovered that  the cottage's window  had been forced open and that the  anisette had  been spiked with the dealy  poison strychnine. Cotroni and Greco both declared  that they had no enemies and no one  was ever arrested for the act.

     In 1959, the  U.S. Bureau of  Narcotics decided to target Cotroni's heroin  network. Agent Patrick  Biase, playing  the role of Dave Costa, accompanied drug courier turned  informant Eddie Smith  to Montreal to meet the  mobster. Cotroni, with  his right-hand  man René Robert,
met with Smith and Biase and agreed to sell them two kilos of heroin for $7,000 each. Other deals were made and, when the investigation, Cotroni and Robert were arrested on narcotics trafficking charges.

     In November 1959, "Pep" Cotroni, at  age 39, was  sentenced to ten years in  prison and fined $88,000. René Robert, 31, received  an eight year sentence. He was given  another seven years in jail, to be  served consecutively, on May 18, 1960 for a stolen bonds  conviction. The  bonds had been taken  during a $3,750,000 robbery from  the
Brockville Trust & Savings company in 1958. The robbery had been the act of one of Cotroni's main lieutenants, Peter "The Russian" Stepanoff.

     Giuseppe Cotroni was liberated from prison in April, 1971. He returned to his criminal activities and continued  to accumulate an impressive fortune  through narcotics trafficking  and his various legitimate interests. "Pep" successfully avoided further prosecution until his death of natural causes in September 1979.
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