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Police searching across Greater Montreal after alleged gang member killed

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Police officers are conducting numerous searches in the Greater Montreal area in relation to the death a man believed to be involved with gangs.

According to Montreal police (SPVM), half a dozen searches are taking place in Montreal, as well as Laval on the North Shore and Brossard on the South Shore.

This comes after a 28-year-old man was gunned down on Feb. 17 at 12:15 a.m. while exiting a restaurant on Bellechasse Street near Saint-Denis Street in the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie borough.

"The suspect(s) quickly fled the scene," Montreal police note. "A man with serious gunshot wounds was discovered at the scene and died shortly afterwards. Several shell casings were also found on the ground."

The man's death is the sixth homicide on the Montreal territory for 2024.

A 28-year-old man was fatally shot in Montreal's Little Italy neighbourhood on Feb. 17, 2024. (CTV News / Matt Gilmour)

According to a CTV News source, the victim of the drive-by shooting, Jean Brandon Célestin, was the brother of reputed gang leader Jean-Philippe Célestin, a major player in downtown Montreal's drug trade.

According to Daniel Renaud, a reporter at La Presse specializing in organized crime, the Célestin brothers also served as "right-hand men" to organized crime kingpin Gregory Woolley, who was gunned down in November.

"What the experts think, what the observers think, is that right now we're seeing a reorganization of organized crime in Montreal," he explained. "Police think that adversaries want to seize control of drug trafficking activities in Montreal."

Almost 100 police officers with the SPVM, as well as Longueuil police (SPAL) and Laval police (SPL) are participating in Thursday's operation.

Anyone with information about the homicide is encouraged to call 911, visit their local police station or contact Info-Crime Montreal anonymously and confidentially at 514 393-1133 or via the reporting form.

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