Members of the Hells Angels, street gangs, alleged members of the Montreal Mafia and the son of Vito Rizzuto are facing charges including conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal weapons possession following a series of high-profile raids in the Montreal area on Thursday.
Those arrested and charged include Maurice (Mom) Boucher, the imprisoned former boss of the Hells Angels in Quebec, and his daughter Alexandra Mongeau.
Along with Hells Angels member Gregory Woolley, they are facing a charge of conspiring to murder Raynald Desjardins.
Desjardins is a former lieutenant in the Rizzuto crime family. Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit the murder of Salvatore Montagna, who was killed in 2011.
Along with Boucher, Mongeau and Woolley, a total of 48 alleged members of the Hells Angels and Montreal Mafia were arraigned at the Montreal and Longueuil courthouses on Thursday afternoon following the early morning raids.
Quebec provincial police Lt. Benoit Dubé said the Thursday morning raids, dubbed operations Magot and Mastiff, targeted the "union" of Hells Angels, Mafia and street gangs.
"We arrested all the persons who were making the decisions," Dubé told a news conference Thursday morning
Leonardo Rizzuto and Stéfano Sollecito are facing charges of committing an offence for a criminal organization and drug trafficking.
Rizzuto, who is a lawyer, smiled throughout his appearance at Montreal court late Thursday afternoon. He will remain in custody at least two weeks since his bail hearing takes place on Nov. 25.
Leonardo's father Vito Rizzuto, longtime patriarch of the top local Mafia clan, died of natural causes in 2013. His brother Nick Jr. and grandfather Nicolo were shot dead in separate incidents in 2010.
Mongeau — whose long-incarcerated father Maurice Boucher is another larger-than-life crime figure — appeared in Montreal court Thursday on charges of dealing in stolen goods. Those proceedings have been suspended, but she will be in Longueuil court Friday to face the murder conspiracy charge.
Mongeau gave birth about three weeks ago, and her lawyer has pleaded with a judge to allow her to be released on conditions,as she is breastfeeding her newborn.
Hells Angels connections
Boucher was already serving a life sentence on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two prison guards. Boucher was arrested in his cell Thursday morning.
Woolley, a member of the Hells Angels and the reputed leader of the Syndicates, a street gang formed by the Hells Angels at the height of their bloody 1990s biker war with the Rock Machine has been charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking in addition to the conspiracy to commit murder charge.
Three other people are still being sought by police: Dominique Gauthier, José McCarthy and Patrick Williams.
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Antonio Nicaso, a Toronto-based author and organized crime expert, said the Mafia, the Hells Angels and street gangs have been working together to gain a better hold on organized crime.
"They were forging a strategic alliance to control some important sources of revenue such as drug trafficking," he said.
Those arrested are expected to face a series of charges including gangsterism, conspiracy to commit murder and drugs and firearms charges.
Roughly 200 officers from the RCMP, Quebec provincial police and Montreal police took part in the operation.
Police say they seized 41 firearms, $1.2 million in cash, 122 cell phones and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.