Charges filed in connection with a Montreal police operation targeting men suspected of distributing cocaine for the West End Gang suggest the network could supply any narcotics a person desired.
The seven men were arrested on Thursday, when Montreal police also seized 18 kilograms of cocaine and $300,000 in cash. An indictment was made public when all seven appeared before a judge at the Montreal courthouse the following day.
The men were charged as a group with taking part in a general conspiracy to traffic in drugs and with being in possession of money, more than $5,000, knowing that it was generated through crime. But some of the men are also charged individually with selling six other types of drugs beside cocaine, including Viagra, magic mushrooms (psilocybin), methamphetamine and steroids.
Four of the men — Curtis Christenson, 46, of Pointe-Claire, as well as Christopher John Parent, 25, Joseph Penning, 48, and Michael Penning, 20, all of LaSalle — face additional charges related to firearms that were seized by police on Thursday.
Most of the men charged on Friday have little or no criminal records. But at least one, Joseph Penner, has been linked to a major drug trafficking conspiracy in the past.
He was charged in Prince Edward Island in 2000, along with several other people, with taking part in a marijuana and hashish trafficking conspiracy that stretched from the island province to Montreal and included New Brunswick. According to a verdict delivered in the 2000 case, during the investigation the RCMP monitored a location in Verdun where some of the drug traffickers from the Maritimes purchased five pounds of marijuana from Penning.
In 2002, Penning had the case transferred from Prince Edward Island to the Montreal courthouse where he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. A conspiracy charge was withdrawn and he was sentenced to pay a $3,000 fine, serve two years probation and do community service.