|Montreal's towing industry has been infiltrated by organized crime groups that use violence and intimidation to secure profits, according to a report released by the city's inspector general.|
Last year, Montreal police arrested 13 people as part of a crackdown on an illegal Mafia towing operation
|Many tow-truck owners told the inspector general that they are being extorted, be it the Hells Angels, the Mafia or street gangs. The owner of one company said he had to pay between $500 and $700 per week in protection money to a member of the Hells Angels if he wanted to continue operating.|
Failure to pay, the report reads, could result in threats or acts of intimidation. There appears to be little desire on the part of organized-crime members to disguise their affiliations.
|The report also details how the owners of some towing companies have managed to skirt measures designed to keep them from receiving public contracts. |
A handful of owners, some connected to crime groups, have been subjected to a five-year ban from bidding on city contracts, for having participated in price collusion schemes. They have been able to get around the ban by using their spouse's name or by setting up shell companies. The owner of several towing firms is a known founder of a biker club linked to the Hells Angels and is now in jail on drug and weapons charges.