Fifteen years after being arrested in a major anti-drug investigation, two suspected cocaine producers have again been apprehended for similar crimes.
André Chartrand, 50, of Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, and Jonathan Ranger, 43, of Saint-Colomban, have just been apprehended by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in connection with the dismantling of a laboratory clandestine cocaine transformation carried out almost a year ago in Saint-Jérôme.
Chartrand and Ranger have similar backgrounds having been arrested in 2007 in an RCMP investigation dubbed Channel, in which federal police busted a drug trafficking ring and an ecstasy production lab, and apprehended 28 individuals.
According to a statement issued by the RCMP at the time, Chartrand was then considered “the cornerstone of several drug transactions”.
Chartrand and Ranger face five charges of conspiracy, trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and producing and possessing things with the intent that they be used for the production or trafficking of cocaine.
Less than a kilogram of cocaine, but large quantities of chemicals were found in the laboratory dismantled in April 2022 in Saint-Jérôme.
“The lab was very well organized. During the search, the investigators found large quantities of chemicals and a lot of equipment which demonstrate that the alleged traffickers were processing many kilograms of cocaine,” described Corporal Tasha Adams of C Division (Quebec ) of the RCMP.
The project, which began in the fall of 2021, was led by the RCMP’s Organized Crime Joint Investigation Unit (UMECO), following an analysis carried out by the Intelligence Division.
In the wake of Operation Channel conducted in December 2007, Chartrand was sentenced to more than four years in prison for conspiracy and Ranger, to 15 months suspended for trafficking.