April 16th, 2024

B.C. fugitive found in Puerto Rico returned to Canada to stand trial for murder

By The Canadian Press on March 22, 2024.

Conor D'Monte is shown in this undated police handout photo. A Canadian fugitive who escaped to Puerto Rico and posed as a businessman known for his work trying to save honey bees has been returned to Canada to face trial for his alleged role in a 2009 gang-related homicide in Vancouver. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia says D'Monte was being held in Puerto Rico where he was arrested, but is now in a pre-trial facility awaiting prosecution. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Facebook, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia

SURREY, B.C. – Police say a Canadian gang leader who escaped to Puerto Rico and posed as a businessman has been returned to Canada to face trial for his alleged role in a 2009 homicide in Vancouver.

British Columbia’s gang squad, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, says Conor D’Monte is being held in a Canadian pretrial facility after his arrest in 2022.

Police say D’Monte, who was known as Johnny Williams in Puerto Rico, was allegedly a high-ranking member of the United Nations gang in B.C., and is accused of killing a Red Scorpion rival gang member in February 2009.

The shooting death of Kevin LeClair at a Vancouver strip mall came during a violent gang war in B.C.’s Lower Mainland that included brazen shootings in public.

The special enforcement unit says in a statement that D’Monte was one of Canada’s most wanted fugitives and it worked with its police partners from around the world to find him.

D’Monte’s arrest came after the unit partnered with the Be On The Lookout Program, a Canadian public safety project, and offered a reward up to $100,000 for any information that would lead to his arrest.

News of D’Monte’s arrest in February 2022 came as a shock to those who knew him in Puerto Rico and believed he was a charismatic organizer of Christmas gift drives for needy children and renovations for an elementary school.

D’Monte also worked for a non-profit group called the Karma Honey Project, and met with Puerto Rico’s agriculture secretary and was invited to the governor’s mansion before his arrest for his role in trying to save honeybees after Hurricane Maria.

– With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2024.

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