Juan Ramon "Raymond" Fernandez (born 1950's- died 2013) was a Spanish-born mobster who became a powerful and influential figure in the Montreal based Rizzuto crime family.
Early life and Criminal Career
Raymond Fernandez was born in Spain in the late 1950's and came to Canada when he was just five years old. He allegedly became involved with the Montreal Mafia, working as a driver for reputed mob boss Frank Cotroni. He was later identified, according to government documents, as being part of criminal organization under the leadership of Vito Rizzuto and Raynald Desjardins.
Fernandez was identified in a government report as having “values and attitudes that are profoundly criminal despite having adopted a façade of an honest businessman and good citizen.”
In 1979, Fernandez, then 21-years-old, killed a 17-year-old stripper. According to National Parole Board documents, Fernandez killed the teenage girl by punching her in the throat because she refused to have sex with one of his friends. Fernandez was sentenced to 12 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Authorities maintain that Fernandez allegedly terrorized other inmates in prison. Many prisoners complained they had been threatened and assaulted by Fernandez, according to government records.
On one occasion, in July, 1985, an inmate with a drug debt claimed he received death threats from Fernandez. The following month, a prisoner told officials he had been pressured by Fernandez to smuggle drugs into the prison. The man was found in possession of 138 grams of hashish on his return from a furlough.
In September, 1985, a convict claimed to have been assaulted by Fernandez over a gambling debt. The same man also claimed to have been assaulted over a drug debt in the past by a collector working on Fernandez’s behalf.
Even prison workers weren’t safe, according to numerous incidents described in government documents. In June, 1982, Fernandez allegedly threatened a guard, supposedly saying his friends would take care of him. In May, 1985, he supposedly told another employee that he knew her home address. The worker said she feared for the safety of her and her family. On another occasion, Fernandez allegedly told a prison employee: “You don’t know me. You don’t know what I am capable of.”
Fernandez was granted parole in January 1990. While out, he supposedly worked as manager of a club owned by Vito Rizzuto.
In September, 1991, Fernandez was again arrested, this time on drug-related charges. Police supposedly found $32,000 in his possession and three kilograms of cocaine in a vehicle. Fernandez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
Fernandez was married in a prison chapel in April, 1992. Among the guests in attendance was Raynald Desjardins. Vito Rizzuto was also invited but was refused attendance by prison officials.
In 1999, because of his criminal record and ties to organized crime, Fernandez was deported back to his native Spain. He managed to sneak back into the country under the name of Joe Bravo. He was reportedly arrested in a Woodbridge, Ontario café in March 2001 and expelled again.
Fernandez slipped back into Canada less than six months later with a fake passport. In Ontario, he had allegedly replaced Gaetano Panepinto - gunned down in October, 2000 - as the intermediate between the Montreal Mafia and Ontario‘s biker gangs.
Fernandez and over 30 others were arrested on numerous accusations, including smuggling marijuana into the United States, producing large amounts of ecstasy, and creating counterfeit credit cards. Police seized $125,000 in cash and almost $10 million worth of drugs, as well as two Uzi machine guns, three handguns, and a rifle.
Fernandez, the alleged leader of the group, was reportedly accused of several charges, including conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to import cocaine.
Authorities allege that Fernandez conspired to have Constatin “Big Gus” Alevizos killed. According to a news report, Alevizos, also arrested in the operation, may have been suspected of playing a role in $700,000 cash and a large amount of drugs that disappeared after Panepinto’s death.
Fernandez later relocated to Sicily, where he and some associates were allegedly dealing with mafia figures there in drug trafficking on part of the Montreal mob.
In April of 2013, Juan Ramon Fernandez, described by police in Canada as “a perfect gangster,” died the perfect Hollywood gangster death – ambushed by mob rivals, dying in a hail of bullets and his body burned in a field in the picturesque countryside outside Palermo, the historic capital city of Sicily.
Sicilians Pietro and Salvatore Scaduto, were charged with the murder of Fernandez and his associate Fernando Pimentel.