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Cross-country smuggling ring tied to Hells Angels, police say


The Ottawa Sun

OTTAWA -- About seven months ago, police stormed their homes and seized their vehicles, drugs and cash in an investigation of a suspected Hells Angels' cocaine-smuggling ring.
Yesterday, police came for them.
Quebec provincial police say 46 people with ties to organized crime were arrested, including 13 in the Ottawa area, after a two-year investigation wrapped up yesterday.
Police said "several hundred" kilograms of cocaine a year were smuggled to Vancouver from Mexico, via the U.S. coast. The drugs were then driven to Montreal, said Sgt. Martine Isabelle, a spokeswoman with the Surete du Quebec.
She said the cocaine would be stored for a short period before being distributed in various areas of Quebec.
Those arrested will face an array of charges, including drug possession, drug trafficking and gangsterism, police said.
"(Police) carried out this morning the dismantling of an important network of traffickers of cocaine which prevailed everywhere in Canada," said a Quebec police press release.
The RCMP and the Ottawa and Gatineau police departments also took part in the operation.
The Ottawa police's drug squad helped by arresting suspects, said Staff Sgt. Pete Gauthier.
Local cops also helped with the raids back on April 30.
"They came at 4 a.m. and were here all day. They were loading those fancy cars on flatbeds," said a resident of Inverness Ave. of the day police raided the homes of Valentino Cocco Pollastrini, 42, and his neighbour Gary Ryan, 57. Police allege Pollastrini is the Ottawa ringleader.
Michel Lecompte, 46, of Gatineau is alleged to be the ringleader in Gatineau. Police raided his home at 833 Larouche St. yesterday morning. Lise Dubien, 45, lives at the same address and is among the accused.
Romeo Agostini, 46, of Ottawa was also arrested. All local people charged were to appear in Hull court yesterday. Ribih Abdulla Faisal of Ottawa is still wanted by police.
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