CHAMBLY, Quebec -- The entire police force of this sleepy bedroom community 20 miles southeast of Montreal has been taken over by provincial officers.
Capt. Paul Quirion of the provincial police walked into the single-story redbrick police station here and ordered the duty officer to call in all his patrols. At that moment, at 6 a.m. Thursday, more than 350 of Quirion's provincial police officers were raiding the homes of 142 people throughout Quebec, including those of all 24 uniformed members of the local police force in Chambly.
The raids, conducted throughout Quebec, culminated a five-month undercover investigation into drug trafficking, protection rackets, the receiving of stolen goods, prostitution, the sale of contraband liquor, tobacco and steroids, and even the filing of false income tax returns.
As for the operation here, it was the first time in Quebec's history that an entire local police department had been taken over by provincial police.
At a news conference at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Chambly town hall, Mayor Pierre Bourbonnais, a former Montreal policeman, announced that as of Saturday police duties had been returned to the local force, minus five suspended officers.