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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

K-Crew gang leader arrested after weekend stabbings

23:40 |

A man police consider to be a dangerous and violent street gang leader has been charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of two men outside a Plateau Mont Royal bar over the long weekend. Jean-Philippe Célestin, 31, who has been described as the leader of a Montreal street gang called the K-Crew, appeared at the Montreal courthouse on Monday. He faces five charges in the assault early Saturday that left one man in critical condition outside the outside Commission des Liqueurs nightclub on St. Laurent Blvd. near Mont Royal Ave. Célestin is charged with aggravated assault and with attempting to kill two men. He is also charged with assaulting a third man. Police have said they believe the stabbings were the result of a dispute that started in a bar and spilled outside. In 2009, Célestin was described by police as the leader of a drug trafficking network that was active on St. Laurent. A police investigation, dubbed Project Norte, targeted several members of the K-Crew, including Célestin. On March 24, 2010, Célestin pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession of drugs with the intent to traffic in the Project Norte case and was sentenced to an 18-month prison term. Célestin was on probation for this term when he was arrested as a suspect in the weekend stabbings. In 2007, during a hearing before the provincial liquor board, the K-Crew was described as “a major and emerging street gang” in Montreal. During the same hearing, which involved the St. James Pub in Old Montreal, Célestin was described, by a police expert, as the most violent and dangerous member of the gang. The bar was targeted by an arson fire in 2007 after its owners told Célestin to keep away. Montreal police had warned the owners they could lose their licence because many members of Célestin’s gang were hanging out there. Célestin was a suspect in the arson, an investigator said, because he was disappointed over having to cancel a private party he had planned in the bar for his 27th birthday. He was never charged in connection with the fire, which caused little damage to the bar. The liquor board hearings resulted in the three-month suspension of Pub St. James’s licence, in large part, because of Célestin and his gang’s presence there. Malcolm Ahmadou Diop, 19, was also arrested in the weekend stabbings. Diop appeared before Quebec Court Judge Pierre Labrie at the Montreal courthouse on Tuesday, on the same five charges as Célestin, and the Crown objected to his release. Both men are scheduled to have a bail hearing on Friday.

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