A doomsday cult investigated for a plot to bomb native communities has grabbed headlines once again. At least four Quebecers, including the mayor of Richelieu, Que., were among 48 people found dead in a mass murder-suicide in two Swiss villages on Oct. 5.

Twenty of the victims had bullet wounds and nine had sealed plastic bags over their heads.

Many of those who died were members of the Order of the Solar Temple, a secretive religious sect founded by Quebecer Luc Jouret. Jouret has been investigated by the Surete du Quebec for possible links to death threats against four MNAs, a series of bombings of Hydro-Quebec transmission towers, a bizarre plot to blow up native communities and the purchase of illegal weapons.

The cult amassed huge amounts of money and is heavily involved in international arms smuggling, according to media reports. Jouret’s chief aide, Joseph Di Mambro, is being investigated by the RCMP for illegally laundering $95 million, reported the Gazette. Police have issued international search warrants for Jouret and Di Mambro.

Five other people died in a fire in Di Mambro’s house in the Laurentians on Oct. 4. Police say that fire and ones set in Switzerland were started using similar sophisticated ignition devices.

Among those who died in the Swiss mass murder-suicides were a reporter for the Journal de Quebec and an employee of the Quebec Finance Department. Seven other Canadians also died. The cult is estimated to have 300 to 400 members in Quebec.

Last year, several members of the cult, including a Hydro-Quebec manager, were arrested on a variety of charges, including weapons offenses. The arrests prompted an internal Hydro probe, which found that 17 employees were linked to the cult. The probe also found that Hydro offices were used after hours by cult leader Jouret for meetings. Employees who attended the meetings were reimbursed for their expenses by Hydro to the tune of $3,100. The probe also found that Hydro had paid Jouret $4,400 to give lectures to Hydro workers on employee productivity.