A new biker war in Quebec?

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Maria Mourani, former member of the Bloc Québécois and president of Mourani-Criminologie

The killing of Michel “Doune” Guérin, 57, on Monday is proof of this. The world of organized crime has been shaken by a “change in players,” said Maria Mourani, president of Mourani-Criminologie and specialist in organized crime.

Although the number of criminal groups or members is not increasing, “the machine is changing itself” in Quebec. Members of street gangs are getting younger, while the Hells Angels struggle to recruit, creating an imbalance in the organized crime scene, according to Ms. Mourani.

In Quebec, the prostitution and drug markets are controlled by the Hells Angels, he explained. Street gangs who want to sell drugs must pay a 10% fee, often called an industry cut.

“In a way, you can’t sell drugs in Hells Angels territories if they don’t benefit.”

— Maria Mourani, criminologist and specialist in organized crime

Michel “Doune” Guérin was not a member of the Hells Angels, but he worked with them to collect these famous royalties. He is also known in the criminal world for laundering their money.

Retribution coming?

Will the killing of a former biker be the disaster that sparks a new biker war? The pendulum can swing both ways, according to Maria Mourani.

“Right now, the Hells are a little bit between the wood and the skin to find out if we respond, do we risk provoking a more serious conflict? Are we likely to end up with quick retaliation and more shooting? The Hells don’t have to to go into that because it’s not good for business. War is never good for business,” explained the criminologist.

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According to Ms. Mourani, criminal groups have learned from the biker war and do not want to experience another. However, the Hells Angels may still act in the coming weeks to maintain a certain respect in the community.

“If we continue to eliminate their people and they have nothing to do, in the streets, it will quickly spread that they are not respected. And in the criminal world, if you don’t have respect, you’re an easy target. “

— Maria Mourani, criminologist and specialist in organized crime

The execution of Michel Guérin is the seventh that has occurred since the beginning of the year in the territory of Quebec City. For comparison, four homicides were committed each year in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The SPVQ director concerned

“There is an increase in violence in the territory we serve involving criminal groups,” admitted Denis Turcotte, director general of the Quebec City Police Service (SPVQ), in response to Le Soleil’s questions. “As a police service, this situation is worrying,” he continued.

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Mr. Turcotte says he understands the citizens’ concerns, but he wants to reassure them. “SPVQ police officers are working hard to ensure a safe environment for all citizens. Of the seven homicides since the beginning of the year, five have been solved. We will continue our efforts in this place,” assured the big boss of the Quebec police.

At the beginning of November, Denis Turcotte of Le Soleil revealed that arrests were coming for two unsolved murders in Quebec, that of Daphné Jolivet, 19, and that of Keven Plante-Ménard, 25. Since then , a teenager was arrested in the first case, but those responsible for the second are still at large.

To adequately deal with the increase in violence linked to organized crime, Denis Turcotte says that he is currently working with the Ministry of Public Security “to find solutions and improve our resources for even better performance .”

Asked about this topic on Tuesday, the Minister of Public Security François Bonnardel closed the door for more financial support for the SPVQ.

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“As an organization, we have an obligation to achieve results to maintain a sense of security in the greater Quebec City area. To achieve this, we will continue to deploy the necessary resources and work with the appropriate authorities,” concluded the police chief.

“Topics of interest” target

According to Maria Mourani, Quebec police should target “subjects of interest” to prevent violence from escalating. A “subject of interest” is an individual who has been identified by authorities as a member of the Hells Angels or a street gang.

“They are the ones we need to watch out for the most. If we can stop them, we will get them off the road and their guns off the road. In the short term, this is the most effective solution,” he said.

In the longer term, efforts should be made to remove young people from the world of street gangs, which can be attractive to young people with difficulties.

“Young people, when they are in gangs, it is not necessary to make money quickly. That is part of it, but first and foremost it is about a family. It is attractive for them,” Maria Mourani pointed out.