13 arrested in Kanesatake drug raids
Thirteen people were arrested Tuesday in connection with drug raids in Kanesatake, Que., that authorities say will put a dent in criminal activities on the Mohawk territory.
More than 300 police, including RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and aboriginal officers, were involved in more than a dozen pre-dawn raids in Kanesatake, located about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
The raids netted firearms and equipment believed to have been used to run marijuana grow operations, RCMP Cpl. Caroline Letang said.
Three of the 13 people apprehended during the raids had outstanding arrest warrants, Letang said.
The investigation, dubbed "CERRO," was launched last year after some Kanesatake residents complained to police, Letang said.
The complaints were handed to the Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (A-CFSEU) created to fight crime in First Nations communities.
A-CFSEU member Gordon McGregor, a police chief from Maniwaki, Que., said that for too long, criminals have used excuses to carry out illegal activities on aboriginal territory, to the detriment of the community as a whole.
"Those who disguise themselves... as protectors of ancestral rights to conduct illegal activities are shown and will be shown for who they truly are," McGregor told reporters at a news conference in Montreal. "Those who participate or perpetuate their greed by destroying the lives of our youth will be prosecuted."
Police are still searching for one suspect in connection with Tuesday's raids.
Gunshots were heard in Kanesatake during the raids, but RCMP wouldn't say whether any guns were fired at police.
"The police have not fired and nobody has been injured. We can also tell you right now that we have control of the situation," Letang said.
Non-Mohawk police have been seen as intruders in Kanesatake in the past — especially during and after the 1990 Oka Crisis.
On Tuesday, officers wore protective gear and told journalists to keep a safe distance just in case.