Raids targeting Hells Angels yield dozens of arrests in Quebec
Provincial police say this is the biggest operation targeting organized crime since SharQc
Quebec provincial police say they have arrested "influential" members of the Hells Angels and dismantled three of the biggest drug trafficking rings in the province.
The drug rings provided mainly cocaine and synthetic drugs to Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, and were controlled by the Montreal, Trois-Rivières and South chapters of the Hells Angels, said Sûreté du Québec Lt. Guy Lapointe.
Police say the Hells Angels have a near monopoly on the drug trade in Quebec, and they believe this operation will destabilize the organization.
"We hit them where it hurt, because it's the money that's going to stop coming in," Lapointe said.
The Crown said Tuesday night that 64 people appeared in court to face charges ranging from illegal firearm possession to drug trafficking to fraud and abuse of trust.
Among those who appeared was Carl Ranger, a 40-year-old member of the Repentigny police service.
The SQ believes he worked as a courier, delivering drugs for one of the rings. He is facing breach of confidence, illegal use of a computer and drug trafficking charges.
Police say they took a multi-pronged approach, going after the distribution rings as well as the people who provided those rings with drugs.
In all, the raids yielded:
- 34 firearms.
- 21 kilograms of cocaine seized.
- More than 200,000 methamphetamine pills seized.
- $2.5 million in cash.
There are still 11 outstanding arrest warrants following this morning's operation.
Hundreds of police officers took part in the raids and made arrests in about 20 locations in the Outaouais, Saguenay and Lanaudière regions as well as in New Brunswick.
Members sought or arrested
Among those named in arrest warrants are:
- Daniel Giroux, who police say is a member of the Montreal chapter, allegedly controls territory on North Shore and in the Laurentians.
- Michel Langlois, who police believe is one of the founding members of the Quebec Hells Angels chapter and allegedly controls territory in the Outaouais.
- Stéphane Maheu, who police say is a member of the South chapter, allegedly controls Granby and Cowansville.
- Louis Matte, who police say is a member of the South chapter, allegedly controls territory in Ontario.
- Carmelo Sacco, who police say is not a member but allegedly oversaw the synthetic drug supply.
Langlois and Sacco were among those arrested this morning. Investigators are in touch with Giroux, who is currently in the Dominican Republic, and are looking for the other two, Lapointe said.
One of the searches took place at Érablière Langlois in Saint-André-Avellin in the Outaouais, which is owned by Langlois, according to Radio-Canada.
Three of the group's bunkers, including what police believe is the South section's bunker in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal, were raided as part of the operation.
It was the first time since 2009 that a suspected Hells Angels bunker had been raided, Lapointe said.
- This chart, created by the SQ, shows how some of the people arrested Tuesday are allegedly connected
The operation was led by a mixed squad that includes the SQ, RCMP, Montreal police, Quebec City police, Lévis police and Laval police.
Tuesday's raids were connected to another series of searches carried out in January and February.
The SQ says this is the biggest operation targeting organized crime since Operation SharQc in 2009, when more than 150 people were arrested.