NEWS
04/26/2018 21:16 EDT | Updated 04/27/2018 09:29 EDT

Hamid Chekakri Allegedly Drugged Seniors With Chocolate Then Robbed Them

He was arrested in the U.S. and escorted back to Canada.

MONTREAL — A man who allegedly drugged seniors in their homes with laced chocolates and then robbed them was arraigned Thursday on 18 charges, including several of assault.

The Crown opposed Hamid Chekakri's release and a date for a bail hearing will be determined Friday.

Many of the charges state Chekakri, who appeared by video conference, administered or caused to be administered "a stupefying or overpowering drug, matter or thing."

The charge sheet says there are five alleged victims.

Service de police de la Ville de Montreal/Canadian Press
Hamid Chekakri, 47, is shown in this Montreal police handout photo.

Police allege the Algerian national, who also faces robbery and break-and-enter charges, would arrive at the home of seniors who were looking to sell their property and then express an interest in buying it.

Authorities have previously said the alleged victims described Chekakri, 47, as a kind, charming suspect who would gain the trust of the elderly homeowner with his manner.

In each case, upon concluding a fake transaction to buy the home, the suspect would allegedly offer the victim a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine and insist they eat it as tradition.

After ingesting the candy, the alleged victims would fall asleep for several hours and realize after waking up they had been robbed.

Arrested in U.S.

The alleged crimes took place in Montreal between last Dec. 12 and 23.

Chekakri was arrested in Atlanta on March 31 by the U.S. Marshals Service and had been held in Georgia pending his extradition to Canada.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement the Algerian national was detained after arriving on a flight from Costa Rica. He was held after U.S. authorities confirmed active warrants on assault and burglary charges in Montreal.

Chekakri's home address in court documents is listed in Algiers, the capital of Algeria.

Montreal police detectives escorted him back to Canada on Wednesday.

Police have said they've linked the same suspect to at least six alleged victims in different parts of Montreal and Ottawa as well as three failed attempts in Montreal and Sherbrooke, Que.

Authorities have said they believe there could be more victims and have urged people to come forward.

Montreal La Presse reported a few weeks ago there may also be victims elsewhere in the world.