She left the drug to take care of the young

News 18 December, 2017
  • Photo Martin Alarie
    Jessica Labrecque-Jobin has been working for three years at the maison des jeunes de Longueuil.

    Camille Garnier

    Monday, 18 December, 2017 01:00

    Monday, 18 December, 2017 01:00

    Look at this article

    For years, Jessica Labrecque-Jobin hid her pills of speed and its pot into the hood of his sweater.

    When a customer approached, she turned her head and gripping a dose of drug between his teeth.

    The customer slid a ticket in his pocket. And it released the drug in his hands.

    She has reigned a long time at place Émilie-Gamelin, a high rise of drug trafficking in Montreal, sitting in her electric wheelchair. A camouflage to avoid the police.

    “One day, a deal went awry and I found myself with a gun on the temple, a book-does it without flinching. My reaction to it, it was to look at the guy and tell him : “Go on, you’re going to deliver me, I’m tired of being like this.” “

    After years of violence, several arrests and a run of 18 months, it has changed his life.

    She is now an advocate with young people and tries to convince them not to walk in his footsteps.

    Part 1 : Childhood

    Jessica Labrecque-Jobin was born with arthrogryposis multiplex, a disability is a degenerative that affects the joints.

    “I can’t use my legs or my hands, except to move my electric wheelchair. “

    In order for their child to benefit from the best care, the parents of Jessica decide shortly after his birth moved from Sherbrooke to Longueuil.

    The small will undergo eight operations in as many years. In spite of everything, she keeps good memories of his childhood.

    “In elementary school, I was going to school Victor-Doré, where all the children were disabled, recalls the young woman, who is now 33 years of age. I felt good, because no one will considered. Everyone had his own problem. “

    Jessica acknowledges that she already had a character at the time. It dates to the beginning of his troubles to his arrival at école secondaire Jacques-Rousseau, a suitable, but in which she was the only child with a disability.

    Surrounded by students, “normal” according to his words, she must deal with teasing and bullying.

    “The captain of the football team, a popular guy, was baited on me. He told me : “Ostia of disability, and you do not even have arms,” to laugh with her girlfriends. It was really hard to live. “


    To protect herself, Jessica decided to create a character of hard to cook.

    She accompanies the students to be turbulent at the mall and earns their respect by flying phones or food.

    “We were going to Walmart, we flew a article 100 piasses and then we brought him back to take cash. At the time, we don’t asked not even the bill, ” she said with an air of amused.

    The direction of his school, which is struggling to frame this strong head, eventually return after it has doubled for the second time.

    “They saw clearly that I was not motivated. “

    The mother of Jessica, presseuse in a cleaner, working up to sixty hours a week to feed her three children. It is seldom present in the house. His father left the family home years earlier.

    18-year-old girl finds herself left to her own devices. Déscolarisée, she hangs in the streets of Longueuil, and rarely returns to the house. It begins to consume.

    “Since very young, I watched it on my little brother and my little sister. When I started to sell drugs, smoke pot and take speed, I put the distance, because I don’t want that they see me frozen, I was ashamed. “


    It revolves then to Montreal, where things ” move faster “.

    “Once, I went 10 dollars to a crackhead [consumer of crack cocaine] that he calls me a taxi-van and helps me to go in, but often I was taking the Jacques Cartier bridge electric wheelchair just. I had it for an hour and a half. “

    On the other side of the bridge, away from his family, and the gaze of his relatives, Jessica asserts herself as a lesbian. She begins to frequent the clubs in the gay village.

    “I was walking around with lesbians that I provided in drugs. There was a gang of 100 girls and you were always in the same places. It was something. I have started to make me a nice customer. “

    Part 2 : Greatness and decadence

    The cases of Jessica in the gay village work so well that at age 21, she ends up attracting the attention of the big fish of the traffic in montreal.

    “Some people came to see me. They explained to me the workings of the gang and told me that as I was on their territory, I had to sell for them. I agreed to it. I didn’t really have the choice anyway. “

    The new employers of Jessica and to identify its potential.

    “Thanks to my disability, I was above suspicion in the eyes of the police. When my leaders were arrested, those who were above them have contacted me and told me : “you are the boss of the area now”. I had three, four types permanently to my orders. It was very rare that we try to do, crosser, because everyone knew that I was protected. “

    The sector of Jessica extends then to Saint-Laurent metro at Papineau metro station.

    “I had nowhere to sleep, but anyway I was so smashed at the speed that I was sleeping almost not loose it. From time to time, we rented a hotel room to recharge the battery of my wheelchair but that is all. “

    For a time, the one that everyone calls “the girl in the wheelchair” reigns supreme in its sector. His character of leader, and loyalty to any race make him earn the respect of the gang, and the power that goes with it.

    “You took care of me financially and physically. I was making around $ 300 a day not counting bonuses. “

    Photo Camille Garnier


    Excited by the drugs that she consumes and is proud of his status, the girl eventually integrate the reflexes of the mobsters that she talked to. If younger, she played the hard way, now it has become a.

    “At the slightest problem, I had guys who were ready to break faces for me. It was enough that I demand. “

    And she asked, when some have tried to steal it.

    “I’ve only done that two or three times. What I can say is that I’ve seen people take sacred stolen. Our way of life was violent, it could explode at any time. “

    All in all, Jessica believes that the sale of drugs has reported around 300 000 $.

    “I have nothing kept. Saw that I was in the street, all my money was going to be for me “reloader” in drugs, or in hotel rooms or food. “

    But in the street, every empire has its end. The one of Jessica collapsed on a summer day in 2008, near the Berri-UQAM station.

    “On this day, one of my guys calls me and tells me that he is running out of stock. He wants me to come charging at place Émilie-Gamelin. What I do not know at this moment is that it is a trap and that the police are waiting for me. They were well prepared, they even had a van suitable for my wheelchair. “

    The run

    She receives the congratulations tinged with irony police officers, who were impressed by the criminal careers of ” the girl in the wheelchair “.

    Jessica is released with a ban to attend the centre of town and a promise to return to court for its judicial procedures. It shall follow the first and ignore the second.

    Deprived of its point-of-sale and identified by the police, Jessica leaves Montreal. The young woman wanders for a year and a half and lives of small traffic in Granby, Joliette and Trois-Rivières. It is in this last city that the police will eventually catch him for good.

    “This time, they have not released all of the mandates that I had for stories of theft or drug me back over,” she says. I took a sentence of a year and a half to be served at home. This has made me a shock. “

    She decided to settle in Saint-Rémi on the South Shore, to serve his sentence.

    “I wanted to be away from my old acquaintances in order to avoid the temptations. As my girlfriend of the time had family over there I said to myself, “why not ?” “

    Part 3 : Redemption

    The judge allows Jessica to leave her home to go to school for adults in Saint-Rémi.

    “At the beginning, I saw it as an opportunity to get out and continue my business, I was thinking negatively,” she says. But eventually, I started to take it seriously and get results. “

    Unable to use his hands, Jessica is writing her homework in the mouth, the pen stuck between the teeth. To the extent that it takes on the taste of the studies, it loses one for the drug.

    “The school, it has helped me, because when you tips the face of the pis that you’re fucked, everyone knows it. I also began to have a better esteem of myself. “

    She gets her high school diploma and then follows a four year training to become a specialized educator.

    “I completed an internship at the Maison des jeunes de Longueuil during my studies,” she says. When I got out of school, the director had a position to fill. I applied and I got the job. “

    Photo Camille Garnier

    The director of the Maison des Jeunes de Longueuil, Valerie Bourget, has agreed to give him a second chance.

    Works with the police

    It has now been three years and Jessica is an intervener in this establishment.

    She is the first person with a disability to work there. Today, it assumes its role of coordinator, organizing concerts and writing workshops.

    However, its beginnings were not obvious.

    “The young people wanted to test, and some have even insulted her because of her disability,” remembers Valerie Bourget, the director of the institution. But finally, she managed to impose. “

    Jessica Labrecque-Jobin has even become a pillar of the establishment, is that teens respect and admire, ” says the director.

    “She can spot at first glance those who consume and knows how to shake it. She has become our mascot here, ” explains Valerie Bourget, who grew up in the same neighborhood as the girl and was well acquainted with his past. At first, I had my reservations, but I saw that Jessica had changed. “

    Today, Jessica lives in an apartment in Montreal and has reconnected with his family.

    “What’s funny, is that now I am driven to work with the police, on sensitization workshops, for example, has fun, does it. That always makes me a little weird, but it is going very well. “


    Aware that she can never erase her past, Jessica Labrecque-Jobin wants to make a tool.

    She decided to embark on a series of conferences in schools to prevent youth from joining a street gang.

    “I have done evil around me and I regret it,” she says. All I can do now, it is for me to use it to do something positive in return. “