Street gang violence in Montreal, Quebec City leads to man possibly kidnapped with finger, toe severed

"The criminal ecosystem of Quebec is very unstable," says criminologist Maria Mourani, after a man was allegedly kidnapped and found in Montreal with a severed finger and toe, amid increased street gang activity. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

A 28-year-old man from Saguenay, 200 km north of Quebec City, was found in Montreal’s Rosemont overnight with his finger and toe cut off, after a possible kidnapping linked to drug trafficking.

This comes amid increased violence related to street gangs in the province, particularly the Quebec City and Montreal regions.

“The current situation in the criminal ecosystem of Quebec is very unstable,” said Maria Mourani, criminologist and president of Mourani Criminology.

“Normally gangs don’t torture like this, severing body parts, it’s not very frequent in Quebec, but we see with some of the street gangs in Quebec City, that’s what they do. They also film it while they’re doing it.”

Montreal’s Rosemont after a man was found with his toe and finger severed on Feb. 22, 2024. (Alyssia Rubertucci, CityNews image)

Retired Montreal police Detective-Sergeant André Gélinas says it’s a worrying situation.

“You have these guys from the street gangs that are fighting the Hells Angels that are kidnapping people around the Hells Angels, hang around people around the Hells Angels,” he said. “They’re using extreme violence on them because they don’t want the control of the Hells Angels over their businesses.”

We spoke to some Rosemont residents near where the man was found who did not want to be on camera but said they heard screaming at 1:30 a.m.

“It’s more striking when you see like barbaric stuff like this done to human beings,” said Gélinas. “It’s very preoccupying because these guys, they use violence, they use fear to control their very lucrative illegal businesses. They use illegal guns. And the more your opponents use illegal guns, the more you want to have them and the more violence they use, the more violence you want to use.”

Last Saturday, a 28 year-old man was killed in a drive-by shooting in Little Italy and is said to be the brother of a gang leader in Montreal, Jean-Philippe Célestin.

The Célestin brothers were reportedly linked to Gregory Woolley, a man who was killed in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal, in November.

Woolley was affiliated with the Hells Angels, with ties to the Italian mafia.

“Several members of the Syndicate gang or their affiliates have been on a list of the next targets,” Mourani said. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflict inside the criminal network and it’s surrounding the control of drugs in Montreal and Quebec City.”

For experts, rebellion is taking place for reasons not yet known.

“Normally when small players rebel, it’s because a bigger player is supporting them,” she said. “The violence unfortunately won’t stop with the assassinations and incidents we saw recently.”

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