Peter Edwards Thestar.com CARMINE GUIDO WAS A drug abuser, kidnapper, loan shark, con man and muscle for the local mob. He said he even tried to be a hitman. Now, he’s the prosecution’s star witness in a cocaine trafficking case underway in a Toronto courtroom, offering an up-close insider’s view of life with the secretive ndrangheta criminal organization in the GTA. “I was kind of an enforcer,” Guido, 47, said last week when asked by Crown Attorney Jeremy Streeter about his reputation. Guido’s testimony came in the case against Giuseppe (Pino) Ursino, 64, of Bradford and Cosmin (Chris) Dracea, 41, of Toronto. Ursino and Dracea each face two counts of cocaine trafficking for the benefit of criminal organization and one charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offense. They were arrested in June 2015 along with 17 others at the culmination of an RCMP led project called Project OPhoenix. Police then seized some 8.5 kilos of cocaine which Guido estimated at being worth $50-$55,000 a kilo in the GTA. This is the first time the ndrangheta has been targeted by Canadian prosecutors since the offense of participation in a criminal organization came into effect in 1997, senior federal prosecutor Tom Andreopoulos said in an interview.
“It’s the first of its kind in Canada,” said Andreopoulos, deputy chief federal prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Guido now lives under a different name in a witness protection program. He testified last week that he felt uneasy about a lot of professional and personal things and didn’t trust anybody in 2012 when he decided to work with police. “People getting killed,” Guido said. “It just wasn’t the same anymore. Nobody was close. Against each other.” He said he realized why others didn’t trust him and might want him dead. “Me, I did a lot of things in my past, you know,” Guido said. “I didn’t want them catching up.” He said he felt particularly vulnerable after he spat on a person with strong ndrangheta credentials and pulled a gun on a full-patch outlaw biker. He also angered local mobsters when he defrauded someone around Christmastime, not realizing that the victim was under the protection of a local ndrangheta member. Making things worse, Guido owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling debts to men in the ndrangheta. He tried to make good on the debts with stolen fabric that could be used for making suits, but that wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy a York Region ndrangheta boss known as “The Chosen One.”
Since Guido was an associate of the ndrangheta but not a formal member, he could be killed without much high level discussion, Guido testified. Most of the secretly recorded conversations heard in court took place in a York Region coffee shop. In one of them, Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” played in the background as Ursino warned Guido that The Chosen One had almost run out of patience. “He was referring to … all of the problems I had created,” Guido said. “… When it’s time to do it, they’ll just kill me.” “He was telling me to be careful,” Guido said. “You can’t keep creating problems because he’s not going to be able to save me all of the time.” Streeter asked about the reputation of The Chosen One. “He was very powerful,” Guido said. “A mountain”. Guido said that Ursino would have been obligated to kill him if The Chosen One gave the order. “If someone needs to do something to me, it’s going to be him that’ll have to do it,” Guido testified. Streeter asked Guido exactly what he was talking about. “About killing me,” Guido said. Guido said the best way he could stay alive in the organization was to stop irritating people and keep making money for the group. “While I’m making money for them, it’s alright,” he testified. “When I’m not…” More than 40 of Guido’s conversations as a police agent were captured on audio and video. Some of them were filmed in his taxpayer-funded BMW X5 nicknamed “The Rocket.” Guido said he was ready for changes in his life when he agreed to work with police.
“Ready to move on,” Guido said. “Didn’t want to live life anymore.” Staff Sergeant Brad Trainor testified that the undercover project was shut down for four months in 2013 so that Guido could go to rehab for his drug problems. Trainor was grilled by Dracea’s lawyer Kathryn Wells about Guido’s estimated $2.4-million compensation from the government. Wells asked whether Guido was given a pass on domestic abuse and theft charges while working with police. Trainor said that the domestic abuse allegations were investigated by York Regional Police and that the theft victim didn’t want to press charges. Wells also wanted to know about Dracea’s lifestyle as a government agent. “Your police agent moved a 19-year-old young woman into the state-funded residence,” Wells said. “Was staying there,” Trainor replied. “I think she had her own place as well.” “With her parents,” Wells said. For his part, Guido testified that he never killed anyone, but not for lack of trying. He told court he almost took part in a hit on Peter Scarcella, 67, of York Region, whom he considered a member of the Sicilian mob. He said the idea for murdering Scarcella came from Toronto restaurateur/mobster Sam Calautti in 2004. “We were having lunch. Sam said to me, ‘I need to kill Peter Scarcella,’” Guido said. He said that Calautti said Scarcella was making them “all look bad.” Mobsters gathered guns, body bags and cleaning products for the murder bid, Guido testified. Two assassins named Pietro and Andreas arrived from Italy to help with the Scarcella murder, Guido said.
“We got together, sat outside his (Scarcella’s) house,” Guido said. “He never came home.” A few weeks after that, Scarcella was arrested for his role in a shooting at a California Sandwiches shop in North York which left mother-of-three Louise Russo paralyzed by a stray bullet intended for another mobster, Guido said. Ironically, Scarcella’s arrest may have saved him from murder, court heard. “Andreas .. got deported,” Guido said. “Whole situation went away.” Calautti was murdered in July 2013 in a York Region banquet hall parking lot after attending a stag. Guido said he sat at Calautti’s table that night but went home early with a headache. The murder remains unsolved.