April 23rd, 2024

Quebec provincial police arrest 21 people in connection with eastern Quebec drug war

By The Canadian Press on February 26, 2024.

Quebec provincial police say a crackdown on drug-related violent crimes in the eastern part of the province has now netted 21 people. A Quebec provincial police emblem is seen on an officer’s uniform in Montreal, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

QUEBEC – At least 21 people allegedly tied to a war over drug territory in eastern Quebec have so far been arrested in a provincial police operation that began last week.

More arrests are possible during Operation Scandaleux, which is targeting the running conflict between the Blood Family Mafia and the Hells Angels in the Quebec City area, the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, the Lower St-Lawrence and the North Shore, police said Monday.

Videos are circulating of people connected to the war allegedly being tortured and officers have met with certain individuals to warn them their lives are at risk, police said. The war between the two groups has led to at least one murder.

Among the arrested since the operation started Friday are eight men and two women between the ages of 21 and 59, all of whom were allegedly involved in a hostage taking on Feb. 19 that killed one and injured three in St-Malachie, Que., south of the provincial capital, said Sgt. Hélène St-Pierre.

Two of the suspects linked to that incident appeared in a Quebec City court on Monday, each charged with one count of kidnapping a victim identified only by initials, and with one count of aggravated assault by “injuring, mutilating, disfiguring and/or endangering one’s life.”

The coroner’s office has identified Patrick Martin, 29, as the person who died in the alleged Feb. 19 hostage taking. Numerous reports say he was killed by someone he had kidnapped.

The Crown has denied bail to everyone involved in the St-Malachie case, and they are due back in court on Feb. 28.

Also Monday, one of the 21 people arrested in the operation was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping for events that allegedly took place between Feb. 12 and Feb. 20 in Montmagny, Que., northeast of Quebec City.

According to the Crown, at least 19 people have appeared in court in connection with Operation Scandaleux, mostly over the weekend.

On Sunday, Quebec City police announced the arrests of senior members of the Blood Family Mafia. Their leader, Dave “Pic” Turmel, was identified by police on Sunday. He is allegedly on the run and media reports say he is in Europe.

Scandaleux involves 100 officers from the provincial police’s organized crime squad, integrated arms trafficking team, major crimes units and other police services. Police have described the arrests as stemming from different conflicts in recent weeks and months including arsons, shootings and other violent crimes for which investigations were already underway.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

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