The Quebec government has created a new police intelligence unit dedicated to ending the black market trade in ammunition, explosives, and firearms, according to The Canadian Press.
Quebec provincial police say the move is a complement to the so-called Anastasia's Law, which tightens Quebec firearm laws and is named after the student slain in the shooting at Montreal's Dawson College in 2006.
The squad brings together members of several police forces as well as Quebec and Ontario provincial police, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Quebec provincial police Chief-Inspector Jocelyn Latulippe says the unit aims to identify the supply sources for illegal guns and explosives and crack down on them.
Formed in April, but only acknowledged officially yesterday, the unit operates on a $1.6 million budget and staffs 22. The true target of the squad is organized criminal groups, mostly street gangs. Quebec suffered 800 incidents involving firearms last year. Three hundred of those incidents have been traced back to organized criminal groups. Sixty percent of those incidents were perpetuated by street gangs, said Latulippe.
Since its inception, Latulippe said, the unit has opened four cases, which have led to ten arrests. According to The Gazette, four recent arrests may involve the notorious Hell's Angels and their black market dealings in explosives. Latulippe, however, would not comment.
"We continue to investigate," he said.