Hells Angels associate gunned down in Sainte-Thérèse

Quebec provincial police are investigating the shooting death of Sylvain Éthier last night in Sainte-Thérèse, north of Laval.

Victim was shot at least once as he left his home Thursday night

Sylvain Ethier was shot and killed outside his Saint-Thérèse home Thursday night. (Sûreté du Québec)

Quebec provincial police are investigating the shooting death of a man believed to have ties to the Hells Angels Thursday night in Sainte-Thérèse, north of Laval.

The victim, identified as Sylvain Éthier, 51, was shot at least once as he left his home on des Camélias Street, a quiet, residential area. He later died in hospital.

Regional police transferred the investigation to the Sûreté du Québec due to the nature of the crime.

Friday morning, police were at the scene searching for clues with a metal detector. So far, police have made no arrests.

Police search for clues outside a home in Sainte-Thérèse where Sylvain Ethier, a Hells Angels associate, was gunned down. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Allegations of smuggling tobacco

Éthier was one of 60 people arrested in March as part of an SQ operation that targeted an alleged cross-border contraband tobacco ring.

Police said their investigation shows individuals bought tobacco in the United States and illegally imported it to Canada via the border crossings at Lacolle, Lansdowne and Fort Erie for sale in South Shore Kahnawake and the Six Nations territory in Ontario.

According to police, Éthier was one of the masterminds of the operation.

Police say the group illegally imported 2,294 tonnes of tobacco between August 2014 and March 2016, amounting to $530 million in fraud against the provincial and federal government.

Sylvain Tremblay, a former SQ investigator who worked on cases involving biker gangs, said Éthier was a bar owner and was involved in drug trafficking.

Tremblay said he believes Hells Angels members who are getting out of prison are cleaning house.

"They're trying to restore order among those who wouldn't toe the line," he told Radio-Canada.