Pubdate: Fri, 10 Sep 2004
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Daily Press (CN ON)
Author: Sarah Deeth
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Police say a tremendous armoury guarded a cache of drugs and cash in Timmins
area homes, as a frightening local link to an international drug cartel was
detailed at a press conference Thursday.

In Montreal, law enforcement officials released further information on
a series of drug raids that took place in Ontario and Quebec Wednesday

Of the 25 arrests made during the raids, six suspects were from

Eric Blais, 27, Michael Lacroix, 30, Marguerite Lessard, 43, Denis
Pelletier, 42, Jesse Jacques, 23, and Maurice Servant Jr., 35, were
still in custody yesterday, facing numerous drug and weapons charges,
as well as money laundering, fraud, possession of property obtained by
crime and gangsterism.

Police in Timmins seized 20 rifles, a bullet-proof vest, a device to
detonate explosives, as well as 300 grams of hashish, 200 grams of
hash oil and 35 grams of cocaine.

They also confiscated $25,000 in cash -- $1,700 of which was
counterfeit money -- as well as a stolen ring worth $7,000.

A total of $1.4 million dollars was seized in Ontario and Quebec.

Twelve search warrants were executed in Timmins.

Staff Sgt. Paul Bonhomme said: "There are also charges pending against
other individuals, so more arrests might come later."

The operation, dubbed "Project Calvette" involved 57 law enforcement
officials from various forces across the country, and was conducted
with the collaboration of law enforcement authorities in Germany, St.
Martin, the United States, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Great Britain, The
Netherlands, France, Spain, Thailand, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and the
Dominican Republic.

In Timmins, 15 officers were dedicated to the operation.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Timmins police Chief
Richard Laperriere expressed his gratitude at the effort of the
Timmins Police Service, OPP and RCMP.

"Even a mid-size community such as Timmins, 827 kilometers away from
Montreal and in another province, can have a profound effect in
dismantling a criminal organization of international magnitude,"
Laperriere said.

Though pleased with the day's results, Bonhomme indicated law
enforcement was still a long way away from halting drug crime in the
city of Timmins.

"This goes a long way in solving some of these crimes," Bonhomme said,
"But we haven't totally eradicated it."

Bonhomme said yesterday's arrests put a good dent in drug trafficking
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