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13 arrested as RCMP raids 'suspected criminal organization' in Montreal

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The RCMP arrested 13 people and raided several locations in the Montreal area Tuesday in a major operation targeting a suspect criminal organization.

During the raids, police shattered a window at Bar Lily's on Fleury Street East. It was one of several locations targeted in the raids that involved nearly 400 officers.

RCMP spokesperson Charles Poirier said officers searched four businesses in total, as well as 16 residences and two vehicles.

The RCMP-led operation is in partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency and Montreal police. Poirier said it stems from an investigation from its Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

"This investigation targets an alleged criminal organization that operates here in Montreal, and the infractions that are being investigated are cocaine trafficking, money laundering and illegal gambling," he said.

While the RCMP did not name the organization, La Presse's organized crime and police reporter, Daniel Renaud, says it involves the Lopez-Oliverio clan, which is part of the Calabrian clan of the Montreal Mafia.

"We know that the Lopezs are involved in drug trafficking. Remember, in 2015, three brothers of the Lopez family were arrested," Renaud told CTV News. 

The RCMP conducts a "major operation" against a "suspected criminal organization" in Montreal. (Xavier Duranleau/CTV News)

Former Montreal police detective Pietro Poletti says the family has been active for the past 30 to 35 years.

Poletti said they are the "top five families, I would say, especially in Canada, with strong connections in South America, Dominican Republic."

According to Renaud, two Lopez brothers were taken into custody. The RCMP did not identify any of the suspects on Tuesday.

"Some of them have been brought to the RCMP headquarters in Westmount, while others have been brought to SPVM police headquarters for questioning," Poirier said.

Poirier says it's unlikely anyone will be charged following these raids because the national police force is still in the middle of its investigation, but hopes charges could be laid in the future.

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