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Quebec police arrest 69 in massive synthetic drug sweep involving 650 officers

MONTREAL - Hundreds of police officers took part in raids on drug-trafficking networks in Quebec on Wednesday, seizing drugs, cash, weapons, vehicles and even a stolen boat.

Authorities say they targeted groups that operated in suburban Montreal and in the Saguenay region about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.

Provincial police and numerous municipal counterparts arrested 69 people.

Five of those detained were identified as the supposed ring leaders of five different networks, including one that specialized in producing cannabis destined for the United States.

Six people remained at large on Wednesday.

Some 650 officers took part in 49 seizures in three dozen municipalities.

A number of pill presses were seized, including one that could be used to manufacture 80,000 pills per hour.

Authorities say it's the first time they've seen equipment like that used in a trafficking case.

Police say the networks worked independently of each other and were behind the trafficking of cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamines and ecstasy.

The networks were linked to criminal biker gangs.

The accused face a wide range of charges relating to the production, trafficking and exportation of drugs. Some also face gangsterism charges.

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