Police operation breaks up Quebec drug-trafficking ring

More than 650 officers with Quebec provincial police, the RCMP, and the Montreal and Laval police force, as well as smaller regional police forces, broke up a drug-trafficking ring in southern Quebec Wednesday.

Searches related to marijuana, cocaine and synthetic drug trafficking network targetted almost 50 locations

Hundreds of police searched dozens of homes in St-Eustache and elsewhere in southern Quebec in a drug-trafficking network bust early Wednesday. (Radio-Canada)

More than 650 officers with Quebec provincial police, the RCMP, and the Montreal and Laval police force, as well as smaller regional police forces, broke up a drug-trafficking ring in southern Quebec on Wednesday.

Operations targeted nearly 50 locations, notably in St-Eustache, Terrebonne, Quebec City and Saguenay.

Police arrested 69 people and seized large quantities of drugs as well as vehicles, money and firearms.

Police say the networks were linked to organized crime, including the Hells Angels and the Red Devils.

The drug trafficking network allegedly sold marijuana, cocaine and synthetic drugs including methamphetamine and ecstasy.

The operation was the result of a 16-month long investigation that police say originated with two incidents of arson around Alma, in the Saguenay region.

Police linked the fires to a turf war between rival drug-trafficking gangs in the area.

Lead investigator Patrick Bélanger of the Sûreté du Québec told reporters on Wednesday that one of the groups targeted in the operation has been linked to numerous acts of violence, 

"Threats, extorsion, assault and arson was all part of their operating method," he said.

The majority of those arrested are expected in court on Thursday.