Over the years, numerous raids were carried out in an attempt to put a stop to the illicit activities of Alfred and his men. They were arrested several times, but more often than not were released for lack of evidence. For example, in 1932 Alfred pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegally importing items valued at over $200. He was finally acquitted after a two-day trial because the jurors found that the value of the illegally imported items was less than $200. It was also customary for men who were arrested to plead guilty in order to protect the network’s leaders. Their sentences ranged from a fine to a few months in prison. Since money was not an issue, Alfred would always pay.
The police had the last word in the end, as Alfred’s network was dismantled in 1933-34 in a joint operation of the RCMP, customs officers and the Liquor Police.
Court of King’s Bench
To testify on behalf of the Crown
The joint trial of Alfred Lévesque and his accomplice Antonio Graveline began on January 11, 1934, and was widely covered by the media. They faced three charges: conspiring to violate excise laws, conspiring to violate customs laws and conspiring to defraud the federal government, the provincial government and the public of the province of Quebec. They were ultimately convicted of fraud totalling over $5,000,000 in the illegal trade of alcohol. On February 13, 1934, Alfred Lévesque and Antonio Graveline were sentenced to four years in prison on each count at the end of what was one of the biggest trials in Eastern Canada during the Prohibition era.
In sentencing Alfred, Judge Wilfrid Laliberté addressed him as follows:
Alfred’s sentence was reduced to two and a half years in prison on each count because of his delicate health. However, for reasons that are unclear, Alfred was imprisoned for no more than 14 or 15 months.
Following Alfred Lévesque’s arrest, alcohol smuggling in the region declined significantly. Although his brother O’Neil continued to sell alcohol, he stopped trafficking alcohol across the border, especially since the United States had decided to soften its prohibition law, which was abolished in 1933.
Once released, Alfred moved to Edmundston.
Alfred Lévesque died of a heart attack on July 17, 1951.
Alfred J. Lévesque
husband of Albertine Collin
died in Edmundston, N.B.
July 17, 1951
at the age of 58 years and 6 months.