As many as 30 people who were enjoying an early evening meal on Jan. 28 at a McDonald’s restaurant on Saint-Martin Blvd. near Le Corbusier Blvd. in downtown Laval suffered burning eyes as well as respiratory irritations after four individuals released pepper spray, while apparently targeting a specific 18-year-old male.
According to a report of the incident by the French-language TVA network, some of those who suffered effects had to be transported to hospital. It was also reported that a general panic broke out inside the restaurant for a few minutes after the suspects released the pepper spray.
“I was blinded. I couldn’t breathe,” one of the victims told the network, adding that the spray spread rapidly. “I was trying to get back to the table where I was seated in order to get my children. People were screaming and most of the people rushed towards a door which was blocked. It was chaos.”
The restaurant was crowded at the time as a children’s birthday party was underway. Another victim reported that she had no choice but to seek refuge in the washroom with her daughter to escape the fumes. She said that at one point, not knowing what the panic was about, she thought that maybe a gunman was on the loose.
She said that she and others used snow on the ground outside the restaurant to soothe their eyes. According to the report, the Laval Police have launched in investigation into the incident.
Laval among 11 cities where raids conducted by SPVM for illicit cannabis
Although marijuana use and its controlled sale has been legal in Quebec and the rest of Canada for more than five years, the police continue to conduct raids on unlicensed producers who distribute and sell the psychoactive substance through clandestine channels.
Laval was one of nearly a dozen cities in the Montreal region as well as north of the city where raids were conducted on Jan. 31 in what was described by the SPVM as the “dismantlement of a network of illegal production and distribution of cannabis on a large scale.”
Besides Laval, where the Laval Police Dept. provided assistance, search and seizure warrants were also executed at residences as well as commercial and industrial buildings located in Montreal, Blainville, Saint-Lin-des-Laurentides, Mirabel and Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade.
According to the police, more than a ton of cannabis was seized during the wide-area operation. This included 4,930 cannabis plants with an estimated value of $6 million. Results of a preliminary investigation have led the police to conclude that a significant amount of the substance seized was meant for export to the United States.
In a press release issued after the raids, the police maintained that some members of the network were using certificates issued by Health Canada for legitimate medicinal cannabis production in order to give the illegal operation an air of legitimacy.
The SPVM were also assisted by the Sûreté du Québec, the Ontario Provincial Police and enforcement officials from Health Canada. Three suspects, aged 30, 36 and 41, were detained, although charges and formal arrests were pending subject to further investigation by Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.
Laval man arrested after rental car stopped for speeding in Cornwall
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they arrested two people, including a man from Laval, following what they describe as a “routine traffic stop” near Cornwall in eastern Ontario.
Members of the OPP Highway Safety Division stopped the driver of a rental car for speeding on Jan. 30 in the eastbound lanes of the 401 in South Glengarry Township shortly after 3:00 pm.
With the help of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP, officers located unsealed cannabis, over 40 cell phones and more than 40 pre-paid credit cards that had a variety of names on them.
Among those arrested and charged was 23-year-old Mehdi Aloui of Laval. He has been charged with:
- Three counts of failing to comply with a probation order;
- Three counts of failing to comply with a release order;
- And breach of recognizance.
Also arrested was 23-year-old Rousseley Castan of Montreal. He was charged with:
- Driving a vehicle with cannabis readily available;
- Having a dirty and illegible license plate;
- Two counts of failing to comply with a probation order.
The two were released from police custody and are scheduled to appear in court on March 6. Two other individuals detained during the operation were released while an investigation continues.