William "Willie Obie" Obront
   William Obront, who was named  in organized crime inquiries  as the Canadian  equivalent of  Meyer Lansky, was born  in Montreal on March 27, 1924. He first came  to police  attention when he was in his twenties and would assume a position that was nearly impossible: a Jew at the top of Montreal's Italian Mafia.

     Obront, known  as "Willie Obie", became  Vic Cotroni's chief  money launderer. His job was to hide funds derived through gambling, narcotics smuggling, loan sharking, and other  illicit activities. He  also invested the money, creating even more revenues. The Quebec Crime Probe  of 1977 revealed  how Obront had  washed over $89 million in two years for  the organization through various schemes.

   He also ran  a thriving loan sharking business that generated  millions of dollars  in profit. In late 1973, Obront successfully took  over all gambling  in the Ottawa-Hull area for  the Montreal family. Police estimated  that the group took 25 percent of  a bookmaking operation that generated $50,000 a day.

     Obront sat  at the head of  thirty eight companies. He was president of 
Certes Holding Ltd. and owned shares  in the Béret Bleu with Roméo Bucci, Peter Adamo, and  Frank Dasti. He, along with two associates, also managed  to have the only  meat-storage facilities on the Expo '67 site, as  well as 500 vending  machines on the property. "Willie Obie" became so wealthy  that he was known  to wager $50,000 on U.S. football games.

     The organization's primary  money-launderer  successfully  avoided the spotlight  and moved to Hallendale, Florida  in the  seventies. But the shit hit the fan for  "Willie Obie" on  July 21, 1983. He was named  with Vic Cotroni's son  Nick  in an indictment following  a joint investigation from  the RCMP, DEA, and FBI. Obront headed a $50 million-a-year drug ring that brought millions of phony quaaludes into the United States. The network was enormous and arrested with Obront and Cotroni were  twenty Canadians, twenty-seven Americans, and two Columbians. The gang was responsible for trafficking 70 percent of  the quaalude market in the United States and shipped  an estimated 35 to 40 kilograms of cocaine  into Canada between 1981 and 1986. A kilogram of cocaine was seized outside Obront's home on the day he was arrested.

     Obront was  sentenced to 20 years in prison. On  March 7, 2002, Obront, then 78 years old, he was released from prison.
Montreal Mafia
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