The Surete du Quebec raided several homes and business in and around Montreal Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into gangsterism and tax fraud in the construction industry.

SQ officer Gregory Gomez said officers arrested 17 people.

He said those arrested will be charged Tuesday and Wednesday with taking part in a plan to avoid paying $9 million in taxes to the provincial government.

They are also suspected of committing fraud through false billing on construction contracts, and face charges of conspiracy, theft of more than $5,000, fraud, and gangsterism.

50 officers took part in the raids in Montreal, and north of the city from St. Joseph du Lac to Terrebonne, and they say those arrested are all in the construction industry.

Called Operation Garrotte, the investigation into the conspiracy began last November in conjunction with Revenue Quebec.