Laval police delivered a major hit to the narcotics trade last week in a large-scale operation that took place simultaneously across several Quebec cities on Tuesday. Police arrested 14 people and seized nearly 200,000 counterfeit Xanax tablets worth half a million dollars, cash, drug manufacturing equipment and a cache of weapons including assault rifles.
Operation Affranchir began in February 2018 following information received from the Canada Border Services Agency. The investigation revealed that a criminal organization controlled by outlaw biker gangs was working in the production, distribution and sale of narcotics in the Laval, Montreal, North Shore, South Shore, Outaouais and Quebec regions. The accused shipped several types of drugs from different postal outlets, several of which were located in Laval, to the United States, England and Australia. Twenty sites were searched in Laval, Montreal, Terrebonne, St-Lin, Bois-des-Filions, Boisbriand, Ste-Thérèse, St-Eustache, St-Jérôme, Ste-Adèle, Ste-Anne-des-Plaines and Mille-îles.
Also seized was almost one kilogram of cocaine, an ounce of crack and 19 kg of methamphetamine powder (enough to produce 400,000 tablets), and 23,000 tablets. An industrial pill press that can produce 40,000 tablets per hour and a kilo cocaine press were also found, along with $30,000 in cash. Also seized were eight handguns – of which several were loaded – two assault rifles, a bullet-proof vest, silencer and several hundred rounds of ammunition. Some 235 police officers from various municipal police forces and the Sûreté du Québec participated in the operation.