A member of Quebec's Hells Angels who is wanted in Canada in the killings of 22 people as well as for drug trafficking has been arrested in Panama, police confirm.


Michel Smith is a member of the Hells Angels' South Chapter, according to police. (RCMP)

Investigators with Operation SharQc, a police task force set up to destabilize criminal activity of the Hells Angels in Quebec, have been looking for Michel Smith since a massive 2009 gang sweep in the province.

Smith was arrested Friday in the tourist region of Playa Coronado, 100 kilometres west of Panama City, following a two-month surveillance operation, Panama police said in statement released Sunday.

He is a member of the biker gang's South Chapter, Quebec police said.

Smith was one of 24 Hells Angels members and associates who escaped sweeping raids that targeted high-ranking Hells Angels in Quebec and New Brunswick in April 2009.

Those raids led to 129 arrests, and the seizure of millions of dollars in cash, drugs and weapons.

The charges laid in that sweep related to homicides and drug trafficking during the height of the province's biker wars.

However, last year, a judge threw out 31 of the charges connected to Operation SharQc, citing unreasonable delays.

Several other Hells Angels members who slipped through the net in Operation SharQc are still wanted by police.

Smith, who goes by several aliases, including Michel Lajoie and "Animal," is facing 29 charges in total.

Panamanian police said they are co-ordinating his extradition to Canada.

They put his age at 50, while media in Canada say he is 49.

With files from The Canadian Press