Hells Angels informer will earn millions for crackdown help
A former Hells Angel turned informant, whose co-operation with police led to a massive crackdown on Quebec's most notorious biker gang this spring, will earn nearly $3 million for snitching on his comrades.
Sylvain Boulanger, a former full-patch member of the Hells Angels Sherbrooke chapter, is one of the Crown's key witnesses in Operation SharQC, an elaborate investigation that led to the arrest of 129 people earlier this month, including the majority of the gang's masterminds.
Boulanger has provided 23 video statements, a 634-page written statement, and wore a wiretap to help investigators in the covert operation, according to a report in Montreal newspaper Le Devoir.
In exchange, he received $900,000 for work done up until now, and will be paid a total of $2 million over the next four years, in $400,000 installments to be transferred on future anniversaries of the April 15 busts. A final $400,000 installment will be paid after the trial.
Boulanger, 45, will not be charged with any crime.
Informer testimony valuable
It's the largest sum ever paid to a police informant in Canadian history and authorities had to weigh several factors when deciding to seal the deal, said author Julian Sher, who has co-written a book about Canada's biker gangs.
Police have to ask "how much does it cost in terms of crime, in terms of cocaine on the street, in terms of killers loose?" Sher said in an interview on Thursday.
"How much does it cost [for] an expensive trial without an informant?"
Boulanger's life won't necessarily be easy now, even with the handsome payment, Sher added.
"The life expectancy of a snitch is not always great. A famous case: Aimé Simard — one of the snitches back in 2001 — the Hells Angels reached out years after the trial [and] stabbed him over a hundred times in a prison cell out in Alberta," he said.
Boulanger joined the Hells Angels Sherbrooke chapter in 1993, and retired "on good terms" in 2001.
For unknown reasons, he wanted to rejoin the Hells but was rejected by his former collaborators.
When he was approached by Quebec police for information, he agreed out of a desire for revenge, according to Le Devoir.
His collaboration with police started in September 2006 and ended a year later.
His information is expected to link all alleged Hells members arrested in April to crimes committed during Quebec's biker wars, including murder and drug trafficking.