Investigators from the National Organized Crime Repression Squad are continuing their searches on Wednesday morning targeting influential individuals in Montreal organized crime suspected of drug trafficking.

This is the second phase of the searches carried out last week in the residences of six individuals, including the Hells Angels of the Montreal section Martin Robert, Stéphane Plouffe and Michel Lamontagne, and their partner, the former member of the Montreal Mafia Francesco Del Balso.

A fruit and vegetable company in Montreal, the residence and two professional offices in Boisbriand and Laval are visited by investigators on Wednesday morning.

More than 35 police are taking part in the operation.

The company, Fruits et Légumes Dix étoiles, is located on Jean-Pratt Street, near the intersection of highways 40 and 15, in Montreal.

Like last week, investigators are searching for evidence and no arrests are expected.

According to police, Ten Star Fruits and Vegetables, where Francesco Del Balso worked during his parole in the late 2010s, has been controlled by him and Hells Angels Martin Robert since 2020.

The place would also be a meeting place for members of Montreal organized crime.

In January 2019, Del Balso, who was still serving a 15-year sentence following his arrest in Operation Coliseum in 2006, testified before a parole board and confirmed that he wanted to develop a fruit and vegetable distribution route. in Kuujjuak and in the Far North of Quebec, “as if the company for which he worked belonged to him”, had however deplored his release agent with whom the bond of trust was visibly broken.

Police have long suspected members of Montreal criminal groups of using fruit and vegetable companies to import cocaine, other drugs and illicit goods into the province.

The residence of one of the two professionals searched by the police on Wednesday morning is that of accountant Mario Lepore, in Boisbriand, north of Montreal.

The name of Lepore, who has no criminal history, has come up a few times for several years when it comes to investigations targeting bikers.

During the Pacson investigation, targeting Montreal Hells Angels David Lefebvre in 2019, investigators from the National Organized Crime Squad (ENRCO) observed a suspect go to the offices of Mario Lepore. However, he had not been arrested or charged.

During the 2000s, the number company of a member of the Hells Angels of the South section was already registered at the office address of Mario Lepore.

On September 12, 1995, in the middle of the biker war, a bomb, probably planted by Rock Machine supporters, had shattered the terrace of the bar Le Harley in Boisbriand on which Mario Lepore was seated, and the latter had been seriously injured. and one leg amputated.

Shortly after the attack, a team from the TQS newsroom had interviewed him, on his hospital bed, and Mario Lepore’s explanations suggested that he could have set off the bomb himself, despite himself, using his cell phone.

In addition to this ongoing drug trafficking investigation dubbed Ravager, Francesco Del Balso is the subject of another investigation for the attempted murder of the youngest son of former Montreal mob boss Leonardo Rizzuto, which occurred in mid-March in Laval.

His passport and cell phone were seized by the police.

Since the Supreme Court handed down the Jordan decision in 2016, which limits judicial delays, the police have multiplied the searches during the investigation to build their evidence and so that the prosecutors are ready to disclose it in full upon arrest. and the appearance of suspects.

The ENRCO, headed by the Sûreté du Québec, has the mandate to attack the leaders of organized crime.