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A handcuffed Joe Bravo is escorted by RCMP officers in 2001 in Woodbridge. (MIKE CASSESE/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO –  Gangster Joe Bravo’s behind bars but he’s still dangerous.

The unrepentant enforcer for Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto was denied parole after threatening to kill a prison guard and boasting about his underworld connections.

Bravo, whose real name is Juan Ramon Paz Fernandez, spoke of his mob ties when he made the threat to the guard who was searching him, according to the parole board ruling on May 2.

Bravo was sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2004 for conspiring to murder another gangster.

A source familiar with the jailhouse incident said it occurred within the past six months and that Bravo claimed he was in control of the prison and could shut it down if he wanted.

“The thing to fear about him is him,” the source said. “He’s a mercenary. He’s a Mafioso.”

The report also notes that continued meetings with “a lawyer who has worked for persons identified as being part of organized crime further reinforces your continuing involvement with this criminal subculture.”

As in previous years, Bravo didn’t apply for parole, but the board reviewed its 2009 decision to keep him in jail and ruled again he is likely to “commit a serious drug offence before the end of your sentence if released.”

Bravo was identified in 2009 as a suspect in the still unsolved 2008 murder of fellow mobster Constantin “Big Gus” Alevizos.

Big Gus, a former CFL prospect, is the man Bravo is convicted of conspiring to murder in 2001.

Big Gus was marked for death because he was accused of stealing money that was considered Rizzuto’s.

He gave the job to whack the hulking 6-foot-4, 450-pound Alevizos to a police agent now living in witness protection.

Alevizos was assassinated outside St. Leonard’s Place, a Brampton halfway house, in January 2008 and Peel homicide detectives consider Bravo a suspect in the still unsolved murder.

Bravo’s threat in prison was overheard by other guards, the parole board report states.

“Several correctional officers witnessed death threats you made to another guard who was attempting to search you,” the report says.

“During this incident, you seemed to flaunt your well-established ties to traditional organized crime in an effort to further intimidate the guard — this implies you remain connected to the same criminal lifestyle that enabled your considerable drug dealing activities.”

The report says the guard decided against filing criminal charges against Bravo “for personal reasons,” but states a “serious institutional charge remains outstanding in connection with this incident and that your security classification was again increased to maximum.”

The source said the guard is scared of filing a criminal charge because Bravo “is the real deal.

“This guy doesn’t care,” the source said. “He’s one-of-a-kind. He’s everybody’s gangster. He’d be a modern-day Gaetano Panepinto.”

Bravo was part of Panepinto’s organization, which was in turn an extension of Montreal’s crime family in Ontario.

Panepinto was a gangster highly respected in the underworld.

He was murdered in a settling of scores between Rizzuto and local ‘ndrangheta clans.

But Panepinto — despite knowing he was targeted for death unless he relinquished control of his crew — refused to back down and was slain in 2000.

Bravo faces deportation to his native Spain once his prison term ends April 21, 2012. He was twice deported and twice snuck back into Canada.

Despite being in jail, police know he still has a crew on the streets working for him and Rizzuto, the beleaguered Montreal mob boss who’s had senior members of his crime family, including his son and father, killed in assassinations.

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