The Laval Police Department said last Monday that it made five arrests on March 16 and executed two search warrants in conjunction with a criminal network specializing in stolen vehicles.
The investigation, mounted under the name “Project Gardon,” was led by the LPD’s general crimes unit, with support from the Montreal Police, the Sûreté du Québec, the Trois Rivières Police, the Terrebonne Police, the Canada Border Services Agency at the Port of Montreal, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Toronto Police Service.
According to the LPD, a wave of vehicle thefts started in May 2021. The suspects used various means to steal vehicles, which included targeting cars parked at shopping centres, and installing GPS vehicle trackers under cars, which would then be stolen later from private driveways at night.
The targeted vehicles included Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Dodge Ram and Ford Series F. Out of 30 stolen car dossiers, six were in Laval. Other car thefts were committed in cities throughout Quebec and Ontario. The value of the stolen vehicles, which were clandestinely exported, was around $2 million.
After the five suspects were questioned by the police, they were arraigned at the Palais de Justice in Laval. Two of the suspects are: Jean-Guy Lebeau, 39, Dave Milliard, 40, and both remain detained. Also arrested were Kevin Lafontaine, 33, and Jean Tellier, 44, although both were released on bail with conditions to follow. As well, Joel Simon Campusano, 29, was arrested for possession of narcotics, but was released on bail with conditions.
Suspect and SQ officers rescued from half-frozen Mille Îles River
Three Sûreté du Québec police officers who were chasing after a driver just north of Laval last Saturday night were pulled safely from the Mille Îles River after they tried to rescue the fleeing suspect who had jumped off the Vachon Bridge on Autoroute 13 into the half-frozen river.
The 27-year-old suspect fled after his vehicle was stopped around 11 p.m. by police for a violation of the Highway Safety Code. However, he soon found himself with SQ officers on his tail.
Although the fleeing driver got as far Route 335 in Laval and was heading towards Autoroute 19, he decided to change direction, taking Autoroute 440 West, then the A-13 north along the Vachon Bridge, where the SQ deployed a nail obstacle on the roadway to puncture his tires and bring his vehicle to a stop.
When the vehicle finally did stop on the Laval side of the bridge, the driver got out, ran along the bridge deck towards the edge of the river, and jumped. When the three SQ officers proceeded to the river’s edge to try and retrieve him, the half-frozen ice broke under their weight and they went into the water.
Firefighters from Laval and from the North Shore assisted in the rescue and the suspect and three officers were pulled out safely.
The suspect was reported to be suffering from hypothermia and was being treated in hospital, with a court arraignment pending when his condition improves.
The three officers did not suffer hypothermia and did not require hospitalization.
Two suspects arrested for violent, gun-related incidents
Officers with the Laval Police and Montreal Police have arrested two male suspects believed to be responsible for a series of armed incidents committed between Feb. 22 and March 3 while they were in a stolen car.
The suspects, Matisse Brière-Duval and Akeem François, both 19 years of age, were arraigned at the Montreal courthouse on March 11 on charges of illegal firearms possession, pointing a firearm, armed robbery and dealing in stolen goods.
It is alleged that on Feb. 22 around 9:35 pm, one of the suspects pointed a gun towards the driver of a car parked in front of a restaurant in the Montreal borough of Rivière-des-Praires–Pointe-aux-Trembles. The driver was ordered to get out of his vehicle and leave the keys behind. The suspect fled in the vehicle with a second suspect.
On March 3 just after midnight, five gunshots were fired towards a residence on 24th Ave. near Crémazie Blvd. East in Montreal’s Villeray sector.
The shots were fired by an individual described by witnesses as having been seated in the back seat of an SUV fitting the description of the one stolen on Feb. 22. No one was injured in this gunfire incident.
Finally on March 10, investigators, with support from a police tactical intervention team, proceeded with the arrest of the two suspects. According to the police, one of the suspects, Akeem François, was in possession of a loaded firearm at the time of his arrest.
SQ runs command post in Laval for quad-murder investigation
The Sûreté du Québec set up a mobile command post on des Laurentides Blvd. last week as part of an investigation into four homicides in the Montreal region over the past two years, including one committed in Laval.
Besides the two homicides in Laval, related murders were also committed in Longueuil, and Kanesatake (Oka) in 2020 and 2021.
According to the SQ, Sacha Nelson César was shot while leaving his residence on de la Fabrique St. in Laval on Dec. 1, 2020. He was known to police for drug trafficking. Two suspects were seen by witnesses.
A second victim who was shot and killed in Laval, Nitchell LaPaix, was found dead on Aug. 17, 2021 near the corner of Tourangeau and St-Luc streets. He was known to police as being active with street gangs. Anyone with information about these incidents is invited to contact the SQ’s Centaure hotline at 1-833-888-ARME (2763).