Police forces pair up to end fugitive’s flight

Freewheeling “snowball” gathered multiple charges in the North


The saying “you can run, but you can’t hide” proved its truth once again last week as a fugitive on the lam in Kuujjuaq was nabbed by police and brought back to Ontario.

“Nunavik is no place to hide,” said KRPF chief Brian Jones. “We’re trying to coordinate our efforts so these guys can face [criminal charges].”

Pierre Huneault, 42, is now in detention after constables from the Ontario Provincial Police Force in Wawa, Ontario, flew to Kuujjuaq to take him into custody.

“We had old warrants from 1999 for loads of charges,” said OPP constable Al Hardy, who was among the officers who arrived in Kuujjuaq last Tuesday to bring Huneault back to Wawa.

Huneault’s original charges included obstruction of police, impersonation, forgery, impaired driving, as well as failures to appear, breach of conditions and one assault.

Hardy described Huneault as “a snowball.”

“As he rolls, the files collect,” Hardy said.

Since Wawa lies on the Trans-Canada Highway, many offenses are committed and some offenders slip by.

“Our warrant files fill up pretty quickly,” Hardy said.

So, the OPP was delighted to find Huneault and bring his case to closure.

On Dec. 7, the Kativik Regional Police Force had picked up Huneault for impaired driving, as part of its ongoing operation against drunk drivers.

When police ran Huneault’s name through the computer, it turned out that this resident of Kuujjuaq, who had a job and a girlfriend in the community, was wanted in Wawa. The OPP in Wawa was informed about Huneault’s arrest.

The OPP plane was available on Tuesday, so Hardy and a couple of colleagues flew four hours up to Kuujjuaq and five back in a seven-seat, single-engine Pilatus — just to fetch Huneault.

“Everything just fell together,” Hardy said. “Usually we wouldn’t travel so far to get someone.”

Hardy said he was pleased that Huneault was caught and brought back to face charges because fugitives imagine they can escape justice simply by laying low in another place.

However, with computerized files, this disappearing act is becoming much more difficult to carry off.

“We’ve discovered a lot of people here, but it can cost a lot of money to get them out of here. In this case, it was worth the effort,” said Jones.

During their short stopover in Kuujjuaq, the visiting OPP officers were able to tour Kuujjuaq and receive several souvenirs from the KRPF. In return, Hardy said he has sent a “care box” of OPP paraphernalia to mark the first successful collaboration between the two police forces.

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