|André "Dédé" Desjardins|
| André Desjardins was born in 1931 and grew up in and around south-central Montreal. Over the years, he would become one of the city's most successful loansharks and, because of his involvement in Quebec unions, earned the label of the "King of Construction." He also developed close ties with some of Montreal's toughest thugs, including members of the Montreal Mafia and the Hells Angels.
He began his construction career when he was only 14 years old, working as an apprentice plumber, but that didn't stop him from using other methods to make money. He was first arrested in 1949 and would be convicted of robbery on three other occasions.
From the Café Évangéline, Desjardins built up a considerable client for his loansharking business. He became so successful that he began supplying money to other criminals so that they could begin lending out money on their own. Among his friends were Eugene Lafort, Gérald Fontaine, father of Hells Angel Paul "Fon Fon" Fontaine, and members of the Devils Disciples motorcycle gang.
After joining Local 144 of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters in 1957, Desjardins quickly rose through the syndicate's ranks. In 1974, while he served as the union's president, he was accused of inciting violence when $30 million worth of damage was carried out during a fight between members of the Quebec Federation of Labourers and the Confederation of National Trade Unions at the construction site of the LG2 James Bay hydro-electic project.
The next year, Desjardins appeared before the Cliche commission, who was investigating violent crimes in the construction industry. He was accused of using extortion tactics to have gottened vacation cheques paid early for workers on strike.
Desjardins handed in his dismissal in 1976, after the commission confirmed his connections to organized crime. Even after this, according to authorities, he continued to exercise a certain amount of influence with the smaller Quebec unions.
Around this time, he opened several legitimate businesses, usually in other people's names, including two jewelry shops, a furniture store, a restaurant in Laval, and a 25 room motel in the Domican Republic, where he spent much of his time.
Desjardins made headlines again in the early 1980s. He was arrested once on a charge of robbing car tires and, with union executive Raynald Bertrand, of conspiring to incite union members to refuse work. He was acquitted both times.
In July, 1983, the United States government processed a request with
|Canadian authorities for Desjardins' extradition to Florida in connection with William Obront's $50 million-a-year drug ring that brought millions of phony quaaludes into the United States. The network was responsible for 70 percent of the quaalude market in the country and Desjardins' name came up as a possible supplier. To the surprise of the public, Desjardins was never picked up by police.
Desjardins was gunned down on April 27, 2000 after eating breakfast at Shawn's restaurant on Metropolitan Boulevard in Saint-Leonard. He was walking towards his sports-utility vehicle when he was shot several times. A semi-automatic firearm equipped with a silencer was found near the body. Investigators spotted had him having lunch with Maurice "Mom" Boucher, chief of the Hells Angels Nomads chapter, the day before.