A Quebec man has been charged by RCMP with human trafficking after he was initially stopped for erratic driving in Manitoba.
Jean Francois D'Asti-Brideau, 26, from Laval, was stopped on Winnipeg's Perimeter Highway in January 2021. Police said at the time that it appeared a physical altercation had taken place between the man and his female passenger.
It was later determined the woman was a victim of human trafficking and being taken from Quebec to British Columbia, RCMP said in a news release on Thursday.
D'Asti-Brideau was tracked down in Kamloops and arrested on Tuesday. He is charged with human trafficking and sex-related offences and has been returned to Winnipeg.
During the initial traffic stop in January 2021, D'Asti-Brideau became combative while being taken into custody and resisted the officers, RCMP said in the news release. He also gave them a false name.
When his real identity became known it was discovered he had a number of warrants for his arrest from Quebec and Ontario. A vehicle search turned up multiple weapons, including a stun gun.
D'Asti-Brideau was charged with several weapons-related offences, identity fraud, obstructing a peace officer and various Highway Traffic Act offences.
He was released in June 2021 but the investigation by Manitoba RCMP and police agencies in other provinces continued, resulting in the trafficking arrest this week.
The woman eventually arrived in B.C., but police wouldn't say if she waited in Winnipeg during the five months D'Asti-Brideau was in jail or if she was taken by someone else.
"For your questions regarding the victim, we won't be sharing many details in order to protect her," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Julie Courchaine told CBC News.
In its news release, the RCMP lauded the work of the original officer in detecting there might be a more significant matter involved than a simple traffic stop.
"This is the type of crime that is not always easy to see. In this instance, an RCMP officer with our central traffic services unit was aware of what to look for and saw signs that this couple were not what they appeared to be and called us in," Sgt. Morgan Page of the RCMP's major crime services in Manitoba stated.
"This was a great heads-up move by that officer, and we were able to liaise with police agencies in other provinces to further this investigation."