Liberal MNA Guy Ouellette was under police surveillance prior to arrest, documents show

Guy Ouellette, MNA for Chomedey and a former high-profile police officer, was under police surveillance before he was suddenly arrested last fall, court documents obtained by Radio-Canada show.

MNA for Chomedey was arrested by UPAC last October but has not been charged

After his arrest, Guy Ouellette told fellow MNAs that he was the victim of a set-up and accused UPAC of "an attempt at intimidation without precedent." (Radio-Canada)

Guy Ouellette, MNA for Chomedey and a former high-profile police officer, was under police surveillance before he was suddenly arrested last fall, newly unsealed warrants show.

Ouellette was arrested by the province's anti-corruption squad (UPAC) on Oct. 25, 2017. He was suspected of being involved in leaking information about a confidential UPAC investigation to the media.

Ouellette, who worked for three decades with Quebec provincial police, was questioned by investigators and later released. He has not been charged.

The documents include hundreds of pages written by police officers requesting warrants for investigative tactics.

They state that Ouellette is suspected of "breach of trust, influencing or negotiating appointments or dealing in offices, obstruction of justice, theft, possession of property obtained by crime and conspiracy."

In their explanations, the officers try to demonstrate that over the last few years, Ouellette along with at least two accomplices —  provincial police officer Stéphane Bonhomme and retired police officer Richard Despaties — were allegedly involved in several leaks to the media concerning UPAC investigations, specifically a UPAC operation dubbed "Mâchurer."

The "Mâchurer " investigation looked into political financing activities by former premier Jean Charest and ex-Liberal Party organizer Marc Bibeau.

 In the documents, the officers cite several news stories as a way to establish a link between the leaks and the need to arrest Ouellette.

Another person was also allegedly involved, but this section of the documents is redacted.

This person was under surveillance by the Sûreté du Québec, which in turn led officers to Ouellette after they were seen together in  a restaurant. The place, date and name of the person in question were all blacked out in the documents.

The documents also show that UPAC had in its possession several search warrants, including for a vehicle and the homes of Ouellette and the other alleged accomplices.

The documents also confirm that Ouellette was under surveillance by UPAC.

Detailed timeline of events

The documents also reveal the timeline of events that led to Ouellette's arrest.

They show that the court approved the "investigative techniques" that were used, namely using the cell phone of Richard Despaties to lure Ouellette.

On Oct., 19, officers obtained the right to raid the homes of Stéphane Bonhomme and Richard Despaties, to seize Despaties's cell phone and to send a text message that would make Ouellette believe there was a scoop for him.

"The officers' objective is to pretend to be Richard Despaties and that he has 'another scoop' that could be of interest to Guy Ouellette," it says in one of the eight documents obtained by Radio-Canada.

Once the raids were carried out on the morning of Oct. 25, the team of investigators then deployed its plan to bait Ouellette:

  • 12:56 p.m.: After having sent a message to MNA Guy Ouellette, the contents of which are not disclosed in the documents, an officer dropped off a plastic bag containing a brown paper bag with sheets of white paper, in the back of an electric charging station in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons in Laurier Station on Quebec's south shore.

  • 1:39 p.m.: Guy Ouellet shows up at the Tim Hortons in his car, for which police had asked for a search warrant. Ouellette takes the plastic bag.

  • 1:40 p.m.: An investigator proceeds to arrest Ouellette "without a warrant." At this point, "the car door was open." Ouellette grabs his cell phone before being told to leave it in the vehicle.

  • 1:42 p.m.: The investigator seizes Ouellette's cell phone and seals it two minutes later, "without consulting its contents."

  • 1:45 p.m.: A quick search of the vehicle is done. The investigator takes the plastic bag and notices an electronic tablet in the car. "That item was not seized," according to the information in the documents.

Translated from an article by Radio-Canada’s Xavier Savard-Fournier, with files from Geneviève Garon