Long-standing Canadian fugitive fainting Puerto Rico arrest

San Juan, Puerto Rico — Last week, the whole Puerto Rico phone started ringing. It began to ring as a member of a private WhatsApp group dedicated to helping others in US territory stare at the screen incredibly.

The businessman they knew as the administrator of the chat, someone who organized charitable activities such as driving Christmas toys for poor children and refurbishing an elementary school, had just been arrested.

Connor Vincent Domonte, conducted by Johnny Williams in Puerto Rico, is allegedly the leader of a gangster sought by Canadian authorities on charges of including first-class murder. He had been on the run for over 10 years.

“It’s like Netflix’s story,” said Antonio Torres, Deputy Federal Security Officer in the Puerto Rico district.

Authorities do not know exactly when 44-year-old D’Monte arrived in Puerto Rico, but believe he used the alias “Johnny Williams” for at least a few months. According to Torres, the 6-foot-1-inch fugitive settled in an eastern rural mountain community near the Day Trip to El Yunke and lived in an unnamed street house in a working-class neighborhood.

Every month, D’Monte takes an employee of a non-profit organization known as the Karma Honey Project to a nearby farmer’s market in Carolina, where he lives in the same community and sells goods next to food stalls. The woman said. She refused to reveal her name because of her fear.

“No one knew anything,” she said, adding that he was always impressed by his quiet attitude. “surprised.”

D’Monte remains in a federal prison in Puerto Rico while waiting for delivery procedures. His public defender declined to comment, but she said in a court hearing Thursday that she had requested that Canadian and Irish citizenship D’Monte notify the consulates of these countries.

People who met D’Monte said he had never made an effort to hide. He also met with Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Secretary and a local senator in his role in trying to save bees after Hurricane Maria as part of his involvement in the Karma Honey Project, a non-profit company founded in February 2019. I was invited to the Governor’s mansion last month. Its president, Candice Garek, is a Miami entrepreneur and former model. Neither Garek nor her company returned a message for comment.

In the latest 2020 annual report available, the company states that its business volume did not exceed $ 3 million. According to the register submissions of Puerto Rican companies and entities, their balance sheets do not report assets or liabilities.

“The man tricked us all,” said a Puerto Rican businessman who asked him not to use his name for fear.

He met D’Monte early in the pandemic after being added to the WhatsApp group and said D’Monte was known as “Johnny Teeth” because his teeth were so white and straight. .. Businessmen described D’Monte as a very cheerful “great salesman.”

“I thought he didn’t have Facebook, etc. because he was a really great network person,” said the businessman, as D’Monte once called him to help with the repair. I asked if I could borrow a hammer. school.

While working on a Christmas toy drive, D’Monte sent a message to the WhatsApp group, pointing out that there was a shortage of 500 gifts and a 40% increase in prices at the toy store, and made a donation. I warned that I was recruiting. He was surprised. Understand it. The universe plots a plot, “he wrote, adding three different star emojis.

It’s unclear why D’Monte chose Puerto Rico or if he knows anyone in US territory.

According to a police statement, he killed a rival gang member at a Vancouver strip mall in February 2009 when the area of ​​British Columbia was experiencing the worst gang violence in history. I have been accused.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, D’Monte has also been accused of colluding for killing two members of a rival gang known as the Bacon Brothers.

The “UN” gang, to which D’Monte belongs, is considered one of the most powerful gangsters in British Columbia and has BC Bud, one of the most popular marijuana strains in the mainland United States. Best known for exporting.

At that height, the gang had an estimated 200 members, often tattooing tigers, dragons, and Chinese characters. The gang also imports firearms and other drugs, including cocaine, and earns millions of dollars a year, said Keiron McConnell, a criminal justice expert and professor at Quantun Institute of Technology in Sally, British Columbia. Stated.

“Anyone who thinks D’Monte is a street corner hustler can’t be more than the truth,” he said in a telephone interview. “Mr. D’Monte was a pretty sophisticated person.”

McConnell said it is very rare for a fugitive to flee as long as D’Monte and successfully assimilate into the community.

According to police, D’Monte, who traveled to Spain and Asia and is allegedly involved in the Mexican drug network, was last seen in the Vancouver region in January 2011. After that, it disappeared until it reappeared in Puerto Rico for more than 10 years. later.

U.S. Marshals Service Torres said prominent fugitives often assume the profile of a very wealthy person because they have the means.

“It doesn’t give a warning signal,” he said. “It will get a lot of attention, but there is no doubt that they just behave like businessmen.”

Three weeks before federal agents arrested D’Monte, Torres said his agency had finally gathered enough information to identify the fugitive, and they never received advice. Stated.

On February 25, the agent closed as D’Monte drove through the popular tourist area of ​​Isla Verde.

“He acted in amazement,” Torres said, adding that he did not resist the arrest.

D’Monte was alone, except for 9mm on his side.

By Dánica Coto

Associated Press