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Former Drug Lord Rescues Addicts
Serge Leclerc was told he was beyond hope and redemption.  He wore his label of “brain damaged” as a badge.

Serge Leclerc had risen to become the co-leader of one of the largest drug crime families in Canada. But today he is working to rescue drug addicts. Here is his story.

Serge LeClerc

He was born in an abandoned building in eastern Canada, a product of rape, to a single, 13-year-old Cree girl who had run away from home. They eventually moved into the inner city, Regent Park, Toronto, where Serge literally brought himself up.

At age eight, he played truant from school and ended up being admitted to a residential training school, where he was abused. He became a runaway, living in abandoned buildings and heated garages, eating out of garbage cans.

The authorities would catch him and take him back to the residential school, where the level of violence and abuse escalated. This led to his stabbing one of the men who abused him. He was labelled as brain damaged, which he thought was “pretty cool.” He was told he was beyond hope, beyond redemption.

By age 15, Serge was leading one of the largest, toughest street gangs in Toronto. He carried a gun, ran alcohol stills and extortion rackets and wore his label of “brain damaged” as a badge. In 1967, he became one of Canada’s earliest drug dealers. For 20 years he was a drug addict and 13 years an intravenous user, and he smoked crack cocaine. He began to do “life on the installment plan,” as he calls it, in and out of prison. All the while he rose in the power hierarchy of Canada in the criminal underworld, becoming the co-leader of one of Canada’s most powerful drug crime families.

In 1984, he began a nine-year term for a $40 million drug bust. Because of an incident with a guard, he was put in solitary confinement and was waiting to be transferred to a super max prison. But one day he encountered a volunteer who told him he had a choice. He could believe that he was an animal that walked on two legs, with no purpose, or that he was a creation, there was a Creator, he had a soul and was of great value, and that he had a purpose in life.

Seven months later, when he watched a 19-year-old man commit suicide in the next cell—a young man who had got himself there from using drugs from Serge’s own lab and drug dealers—he thought about what the volunteer had said. He was invited to go to a chapel service and there asked for a Bible. He received a small New Testament published by The Gideons.

He read that New Testament and was taken by the story of Jesus and His disciples—the gang leader and his gang members. He could understand why they hid when Jesus was crucified, but not why they came out of hiding. He decided that they did so because of truth. They allowed themselves to be persecuted and slaughtered only because of truth.

So at 2:00 one morning in 1985, on the cold cement floor of his cell, all by himself, Serge Leclerc received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. He had been classified as one of the most violent men in the Canadian penitentiary system, but now here he was following Jesus – “following this little red Gideon Bible.”

Since that time, he became the first convict in a Canadian prison to complete a university degree while in prison. He did so with honours, graduating in sociology and social work from the University of Waterloo. When he got out of prison in 1988, he continued to follow the Lord.

In 2000, Serge Leclerc received a full government pardon requiring an act of Parliament to grant it. Never before had a national crime figure been granted a national pardon. It happened because of the work of Crimestoppers, police chiefs and RCMP inspectors, who told the government that he was a changed man.

Today Serge works with Teen Challenge in Saskatchewan where he is a regional director. The program he supervises has a near 90 percent success rate, and the icing on the cake is that he was elected as a member of the Saskatchewan Legislature in November 2007. As he says, “Never before in the history of North America has someone gone from lawbreaker to lawmaker.”

The former drug lord, his life radically changed by Jesus Christ, now rescues other drug addicts in the name of Jesus.

Serge LeClerc’s testimony is available on DVD. You may order a free copy of that DVD from The Gideons by calling 1-866-482-4253.

Neil Bramble is the editor of The Canadian Gideon.

Originally published in The Canadian Gideon, December 2007.




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