Police arrest 103 in cross-Canada drug bust
Published Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:41AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:17PM EDT
More than 100 people were arrested Thursday as police in three Canadian provinces executed dozens of search warrants in relation to an alleged narcotics trafficking ring.
Police in Quebec said 103 people have been arrested, including two alleged ringleaders, in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec in what has been dubbed Operation Loquace.
Police allege the organized crime ring had ties to the Hells Angels, the Italian Mafia and Irish organized crime. The group made $50 million in just six months, police said.
Officersseized more than a quarter million dollars in cash, 13 vehicles, five homes and various amounts of drugs, including cocaine.
Warrants have also been issued for 128 other individuals.
Those who have been arrested face a slew of charges, including drug trafficking and gangsterism.
More than 1,000 police officers joined forces Thursday morning to execute the search warrants.
The operation began just before 6 a.m. ET as scores of officers with the Surete Du Quebec (SQ), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and regional police forces began sweeping into various locations.
A backlog of police vans and squad cars were visible outside Montreal police headquarters early Thursday.
Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau, a spokesperson for the Quebec provincial police, said Operation Loquace was comparable to Operation Springtime 2001 and Operation SharQC in 2009, which also targeted organized crime.
Police said 156 people were arrested during Operation SharQc, an acronym for Strategy Hells Angels Region of Quebec. Like Thursday’s raids, the SQ worked in conjunction with the RCMP.
With files from The Canadian Press