The right-hand man of the leader of the Blood Family Mafia, a Quebec gang, has been arrested in Portugal after being on the lam since July 2023, police announced Friday.

Roobens Denis, 31, was a close associate of the group's leader, Dave "Pic" Turmel, who is also believed to be on the run in Europe. Some of the gang's high-ranking members were recently arrested by Quebec provincial police during a crackdown on a violent drug war involving the Hells Angels in the provincial capital area. 

Quebec City police (SPVQ) said Portuguese authorities on Thursday arrested Denis, who is wanted on charges of drug trafficking and drug trafficking conspiracy, after locating him at a hotel in Lisbon. Steps are being taken to extradite him to Canada to face charges.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Denis and Turmel after seven people were arrested on July 26, 2023 on several gun and drug charges. Police also had Interpol issue a Red Notice in order to secure Denis' arrest.

Quebec City police said his arrest on Thursday was the result of a collaboration of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and the SPVQ's MALSAIN project, an initiative launched in 2019 to combat violence linked to drug trafficking and organized crime.

The SQ said 22 people have been arrested as part of Opération Scandaleux, an operation launched last week to counter the rise of kidnappings, shootings, arson and other violent crimes linked to the drug-related turf war in the eastern part of the province.

Videos of alleged gang members being tortured have circulated online in recent days following the uptick of violence, which included a kidnapping in Quebec's Saguenay region and a fatal hostage-taking in Saint-Malachie, Que.

With files from The Canadian Press