Quebec Cops Decimate Major Drug Network
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Quebec police have arrested 106 suspected gang members in one of the biggest crackdowns on organized crime in the Canadian province's history. Authorities say "Operation Loquace" (loquacious) targeted a major drug ring, led by a seven-member consortium, which has overseen the distribution of massive amounts of cocaine throughout Quebec and across Canada. Several of those arrested yesterday included members of the Italian mafia and the Hells Angels—the notorious biker gang is thought to control much of Canada's drug trade. "The consortium did not hesitate to use violence to spread its market," says Jean Audette, vice-director of Quebec's police force. "Many parallel cases are being investigated in Quebec and elsewhere in the country." Police also seized $255,000 in cash, 6,000 pills, nine kilograms of cannabis, three kilograms of cocaine, 35 vehicles and 13 barrels of GBL (a solvent used to create date rape drugs) in yesterday's sting. Authorities believe the large-scale drug network, which is estimated to have netted $50 million in the past six months, has also been partnering with Mexican drug cartels to smuggle drugs in to Canada from Mexico via US ground transit. Those accused face charges including conspiracy, trafficking and working for a criminal organization.