Benoît Roberge, ex-cop, sentenced to 8 years for gangsterism
Former organized crime detective received $125K for selling information to Hells Angels
Former Montreal police investigator Benoît Roberge, who sold information to the Hells Angels, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
With time served factored in, Roberge will serve seven years and three months. He will have to serve half that time before being eligible for parole.
Roberge, 50, is a former sergeant-detective who had been assigned to investigate organized crime.
On March 13, he pleaded guilty to one charge of gangsterism and one charge of breach of trust for selling information to the Hells Angels biker gang.
He was arrested last October after 10 audio recordings emerged containing conversations between the officer and René Charlebois, a top-ranking member of the Hells Angels.
The recordings reveal how Charlebois and another top-ranking member of the Hells Angels, Salvatore Cazzetta, arranged to pay Roberge.
In one instance, Charlebois tells Roberge he will be paid $100,000.
Roberge's lawyer, Richard Perras, told the court that his client received a total of $125,000 in exchange for the information. Montreal police have recovered around $115,000.
Charlebois escaped from a minimum-security prison in Laval, Que., last September and was found dead a couple weeks later. His death was ruled a suicide.
The audio recordings belonged to Charlebois.
Perras said Roberge leaked information to the Hells Angels because he and his family were threatened with violence and blackmail during a phone call with Charlebois.
Since Roberge pleaded guilty, the content of the tapes was not made public.
The Crown prosecutor and defence agreed to recommend a sentence of eight years.
In his written ruling, the judge said he couldn’t imagine worse behaviour from a police officer, especially one investigating organized crime. He doubted the claim that Roberge felt threatened, saying it was hard to believe coming from someone whose job put him in close contact with organized crime members.
Roberge's lawyer said the sentence sends a strong message to police informers that their security won't be compromised.
It’s now up to Quebec’s correctional system to decide where Roberge will serve his sentence. Roberge’s safety will be a key consideration, given his high profile and past work investigating organized crime.