Violence in Laval and Montreal: Targeted Middle Eastern Organized Crime
The police services of Montreal and Laval as well as those of the Sûreté du Québec collaborated in this investigation.
Since April 2022, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and the Service de police de Laval (SPL) have made 19 arrests as part of a joint investigation, the Project Wick, after noting similarities in 67 violent events that occurred in the past year in Laval as well as in Montreal and its northern suburbs.
Our goal, the unifying the forces, of the three police departments, is to end [the violence]. Reduction is not enough. It is to put an end to this violence. Our traders will not be threatened, insists the inspector at the SPL's major crimes division, Kimon Christopoulos.
Similarities in police reports confirmed that in less than a year, more than 60 violent events were committed by members of Middle Eastern organized crime and street gangs. Their actions targeted merchants affiliated with the Arab community in Laval and Montreal.
“Our merchants reported to us, to our police services, that they are victims of extortion, that they are victims of arson, are victims of assault. »
— Kimon Christopoulos, Inspector at the Major Crimes Division of the Service de police de Laval
The acts took place mainly in the Chomedey sector in Laval, near Curé-Labelle Boulevard located to the south from Highway 440. In Montreal, they were concentrated west of the city, mainly in the borough of Saint-Laurent.
The 19 individuals arrested by the three police forces, namely the SQ, the SPVM and the SPL, were known, for the most part, to the authorities. They collectively face numerous charges including possession of weapons, extortion, assault with a weapon, arson, possession of narcotics and breach of conditions.
The investigators managed to find the alleged criminals by focusing on certain crimes, related to arson, narcotics, vehicle theft, says Kimon Christopoulos.
Kimon Christopoulos, Inspector at the Major Crimes Division of the Laval Police Department
The SPL's Eclipse squad has made 98 visits in the past year to all events related to the wave of violence, namely places where tobacco is consumed, restaurants, cafes and bars, underlines Inspector Kimon Christopoulos.
To deal with the numerous arson attacks and blows generally declared at night, police reinforcements were deployed to neighborhood station number 7 in the borough of Saint-Laurent in Montreal. The police also met more than 500 residents and businesses in the borough during a dozen door-to-door operations.
Other arrests and Searches could take place in the next few weeks, the next few months, revealed Mr. Christopoulos.