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The Canada Connection

13 January 2007

 A wealthy Canadian couple, Domenico and Annunziata Ianiero, were found in their Mayan Riviera hotel room with their throats slashed, last February. Last week, on the OTHER SIDE of the country, in Acapulco, another Canadian, 19-year old Adam De Prisco, died in Acapulco, after either a car accident, a beating or both.

About a million Canadians visit Mexico every year.  The country’s entire population is only 32 million (slighly less than double Mexico’s Federal District).  That’s a pretty big percentage of the country’s population — and out of a million people anywhere,  you’d normally expect a few to die and, alas, a few to be murdered. But these two incidents, nearly a year apart, are … strangely enough… related. To what, no one is sure.


The Ianieros were in Mexico for a family wedding. Their throats were slashed in their hotel room, but nothing was taken. Two Canadian nurses, staying in a room across the hall, checked out before the bodies were discovered, went to the airport and left the country. The two women, both working in the medical field, were wanted as material witnesses in Mexico, but refused to return. The original suspects, all hotel workers, were eventually ruled out, by both the Quintano Roo police and the Mounties, who were sent to assist with the investigation.


With no robbery, it doesn’t appear to have been random. President Vincente Fox – being pressured to intervene – did. But, when he gave his assessment that the killers were Canadians, the Canadian press, and the Ianiero’s lawyer, condemned the President for interfereing (which he’d done at the request of the Canadians).


The Ianiero family lawyer is Edward Greenspan. Greenspan has an international reputation as a defense lawyer: he represents Conrad Black. Black was a Canadian version of Rupert Murdoch, building an empire of right-wing media outlets and gobbling up local media throughout the country. He was also something of a Canadian Ken Lay, the Texas financial “genuis” who turned out to be a greedier crook than most, but no more a genius than any other swindler.  Black is now accused of all manner of large scale financial fraud and chincanery, on trial in several countries, and needs a good lawyer.


Though Greenspan has defended less “illustrious” crooks (including some from the Hell’s Angels) he’s a publicity whore – well known on Canadian TV and radio. Which may explain why a DEFENSE ATTORNEY is representing the interests of a crime victim’s family. It makes no sense, unless… and this is indulging in stereotypes, but rumors float about any wealthy family whose last name ends in a vowel, the Ianieros were involved with the Mafia.


Convoluted enough?  BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE! 


Greenspan has been making the media rounds, complaining about coverups and whatnot and demanding the Canadian government ban travel to Mexico until the matter is solved. Okie-dokie, but what happens if the murderers turn out to be Canadians?


Woodbridge, Ontario, where the Ianieros lived, is a wealthy, 90 percent ethnic Italian enclave north of Toronto. The other 10% are just rich people. The kinds of folks who can afford vacations to Mexican resorts. So, it’s no surprise that another Woodbridge Ontario resident, Adam De Pasco, was in Acapulco.


This gets really weird. There were some rumors that Adam is – or was – related to the Ianarios (so much for their lawyer’s demand that Canadians of all ethnicities, let alone relations of the dead couple, avoid Mexico). I haven’t seen anything but internet speculations on that, and it probably is just that both families have Italian names, and both live in a mostly Italian-descended community.


Originally, it was reported that he’d been killed by a hit and run driver, but his travelling buddy claimed the kid had been roughed up in a nightclub after messing with some guy’s girlfriend. At any rate, he was found dead in the street. Of course the family is grieving, and I don’t make light of their loss…


BUT… who should pop up by Edward Greenspan, Queen’s Counsel? He’s keeping the issue alive, pushing the buddy’s story – which sounds reasonable – that Adam acted like a jerk in the club, was tossed out by the bouncers and then…???


It’s the ??? I wonder about. Very likely the kid did get beat up. He might have been also hit by a car, as the Mexican authorities originally claimed. At any rate, the Canadians demanded a Canadian autopsy, so the body’s been shipped back to Ontario.


The buddy claims he and Adam weren’t drinking, and weren’t particually rude (the “acting like a jerk” was my paraphrase of the buddy’s tale). The buddy, Marco Calabro, was interviewed by Joe Fantauzzi, of the Woodbridge local newsper, the Vaughn Citizen:

“He wanted to go dancing, he’s a dancer,” Mr. Calabro said. “He likes to pick up girls.”

Mr. Calabro doesn’t dance so he stayed at the bar, a vantage point from which he couldn’t see Mr. De Prisco through the crowd, but the pair knew exactly where each other was.

Minutes after they parted, another friend of Mr. Calabro’s told him there was a problem.

Mr. De Prisco was being expelled from the club after meetinga woman inside the building.

“I ran. Right away,” Mr. Calabro said. “I begged and pleaded to know where he was. One bouncer was laughing and pointed me in the direction.”

Hailing a taxi, Mr. Calabro saw a dead body as he headed away from the club.

“My eyes … I didn’t think it was him,” he said. “I wouldn’t believe it.”

Going back to the hotel, Mr. Calabro didn’t see Mr. De Prisco. He retraced his steps up and down, back to the night club to no avail.

When he went back to the club, workers were cleansing the area where he had earlier spotted the body, he said.

Mr. Calabro thinks the chance meeting with the woman was a set-up, which was supposed to lead to Mr. De Prisco being robbed.

I lived in Mexico long enough to hear the “set up” claim before. Usually from somebody who was drunk or otherwise distracted and ran into trouble. The reasoning goes… Bad thing #1 happened, followed by bad thing #2… therefore bad thing #1 was arranged to cause bad thing #2. Nah…  but if you just got bounced from a club (and maybe had the shit kicked out of you, you are more likely to be the victim of other bad actors… especially wandering around in a seaport town). 


Though it this case, there is also “Bad thing #3”… Calabro claims De Prisco’s hotel room was “ripped off”while he was dying in the hospital. I’ve seen claims this is part of the grand coverup… but why there would be such an elaborate plot to do in a 19-year old kid (unless… hmmm … those vowels at the end of the name again).


On the other hand, a thread dealing with this on the Lonely Planet “Thorn Tree Mexico Message Board” contributed to by a lot of Canadian (and other foreign) Mexico regulars, mentioned that relatively rich kids do get themselves in trouble in Mexico… and mentioned a Canadian who used to post regularly (again from Woodbridge, Ontario) who ran his face into a Mexican guy’s fist after trying to pick up the guy’s girlfriend – and then referred to the girl as a “skank.” Maybe they’re just not proper cabelleros up there in the north woods.


The family relationship between the Ianeros and De Prisco don’t seem to be anything more than rumors… as is most of the Canadian coverage. Which, in a nice symmetry, is being pumped up by the media outlets connected with… Conrad Black. His papers have been on anti-Mexico crusades before. About 5 years ago, they claimed Mexican pirates tried to murder a Canadian yachtsman, who it turned out had botched a suicide. Then, when a Canadian was accidently shot outside a youth hostel in Chiapas, had alarmist reports on anti-Canadian Zapatista attacks… though it turned out the shooting, which was patched up in the local emergency room (not requiring emergency flights to Mexico City as the Black papers reported). The shooter, it turned out was drunk, and aiming at something else when he winged the Canadian backpacker… and felt so ashamed of himself, confessed to his priest and brought the padre with him when he confessed at the local Ministerio Publico. And apologized to the Canadian.


My sense is that after Fox News in the U.S. milked the story of the girl who disappeared in Aruba, Contrad Black’s chain wanted something similar. Not having a war, or more than the normal violence and stupidity of any wealthy industrialized society to carp about, Mexico has to do. Maybe that suburb should send their residents to Aruba and leave Mexico alone for the other million Canadians who don’t come from Woodbridge, Ontario, don’t have Italian names and don’t get themselves killed in mysterious ways… and don’t have Edward Greenspan as their attorney.


But, then again, unless you read, who’d have thunk Toronto suburbia was such a hotbed of international intrigue?




5 Comments leave one →
  1. Acanadian permalink
    3 September 2007 2:06 pm

    Sounds like your rather satisfied with the idea of the north American tourist being murdered. well I wouldn’t be to quick to point out that out of a A million tourists your number not mine that one had a possible violent end that could be constroude as seemingly a miss hap. However Two throahts slashed in a hotel that usually knows whats going on. yeah right. Mexico has a corrupt Police and military and the sooner they caught the murders the sooner they will turn out to be working for one of those organizations.

    • 28 September 2012 10:46 pm

      sos un hijo de puta. On behalf of an argentinian. You’re a moron. I live in woodbridge, not only is not everyone rich, but also not italian. Adam was a great person, who came from a regular middle class italian family. You must be really bored to be writing such nonsense like his death being related to the ianieros’.

      • 28 September 2012 10:55 pm

        Going back to a five and a half year old post, on a Friday night? So, who is bored, Kevin? And, you might want to take a reading comprehension course, since I clearly stated the rumors of some familiar connection between the Ianaros and De Prisco were nonsensical. And, by comparison, Canadians are, indeed, “relatively rich” compared to most of us in Mexico… those from Woodbridge apparently not only have the money to blow on vacations in Cancun and Acapulco, but can afford high priced attorneys like Edward Greenspun.


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