A Dartmouth sentencing decision sheds light on how undercover police officers managed to infiltrate drug-trafficking activities involving the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang in 2017.
Operation Harley began in February of that year as an investigation into trafficking by Paul Francis Monahan, an Eastern Shore man who was a member of the Nomads N.B. hang-around chapter and a former member of a Hells Angels hang-around chapter in London, Ont.
Early that month, Monahan posted an online ad on Kijiji selling a Harley Davidson motorcycle on behalf of a full-patch member of the Hells Angels in London. An undercover officer contacted Monahan by email and made plans to view the bike at the Nomads clubhouse in Musquodoboit Harbour.
On Feb. 24, the undercover officer attended the clubhouse and agreed to purchase the motorcycle. During the meeting, Monahan overheard a staged phone call received by the officer arranging a sale of marijuana.
Monahan attempted to interrupt the call and, after the officer hung up, told him that he could sell him marijuana. Monahan sold the officer two grams of pot for $360 that day and increasing amounts of weed over the next six months.
On May 31, the undercover officer attended the Hells Angels hang-around chapter’s clubhouse in London and met with Monahan, who informed him that cocaine was available from a member of the Hells Angels chapter in Oshawa, Ont., for between $48,000 and $50,000 a kilogram.
The two men agreed that a third individual, another undercover officer, would purchase cocaine from Monahan in Oshawa the following week.
Police were monitoring Monahan’s cellphone use and learned that he had elevated contact with a man in Orillia, Ont., after conversations with the first undercover officer about cocaine. That man was Mark David Heickert, who was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels in Oshawa.
On June 4, Monahan and the first undercover officer met in a parking lot in Dartmouth Crossing and agreed that the purchase of one kilo of cocaine would take place June 8 in Orillia, either at the Hells Angels member’s residence or at a hotel. The buyer was to bring two envelopes of cash with him – one containing $47,000 for the cocaine and the other with $3,000 for Monahan, for travelling to Ontario and setting up the deal.
The transaction occurred June 8 around supper time outside Hieckert’s residence. Although the undercover buyer dealt with Monahan, Heickert was in his residence at the time and police believed he sold the cocaine through Monahan.
The cocaine, which Monahan said had just come off the boat and was “not cut,” was wrapped in plastic and oil and was in a gift bag. Before departing, Monahan explained that the first deal was always the hardest and that the next one would occur in the east.
Monahan set up three more cocaine purchases at Heickert’s place, in July, September and November. Heickert met with the buyer each time, receiving $47,000 for one kilo on the first two occasions and $94,000 for two kilos in the last transaction.
Immediately after the Nov. 1 deal, police moved in and arrested Heickert at his residence. He was wearing a Hells Angels T-shirt and had a Hells Angels tattoo on his right arm.
The two vacuum-sealed bags containing the cash for the cocaine were located under a towel on Heickert’s bed. One of the bags appeared to have been cut open with a knife and there was $300 missing. There was a knife on the bed next to the bags of money.
Police also seized a Hells Angels vest from the residence, along with large quantities of Hells Angels clothing, jewelry, chapter pins, lists of phone numbers for members and a banner associated with the Oshawa chapter.
RCMP also arrested Monahan and raided his home in Ostrea Lake and the clubhouse in Musquodoboit Harbour.
Heickert, 50, pleaded guilty last June in Dartmouth provincial court to three charges: conspiracy to traffic cocaine, conspiracy to possess proceeds of crime and breaching his release conditions by having contact with a member of the Hells Angels.
The Orillia man was sentenced recently to four years and seven months in prison. Judge Frank Hoskins also imposed a $141,000 fine in lieu of forfeiture, to be paid within 10 years of Heickert’s release from prison.
Crown attorney Mike Taylor had recommended a sentence of five years in prison for Heickert, whom he described as a “large retailer or small wholesaler.”
Defence lawyer Kevin Burke asked for two years, saying his client’s exceptional circumstances warranted a departure from the normal sentencing range. Burke told the court Heickert needed money to support his disabled son and was also dealing with his own health issues and financial difficulties.
But the judge was not persuaded that Heickert’s circumstances justified a departure from the established range of sentence for the offence of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.
“The number of transactions involved in the conspiracy over a seven-month period … clearly demonstrates that Mr. Heickert is a person that is trusted by those within the criminal subculture to handle such a large quantity of cocaine,” Hoskins said.
“Mr. Heickert made a deliberate and conscious decision to traffic in cocaine on several occasions. This is not a situation where Mr. Heickert acted impulsively while committing an isolated act.”
Monahan, 63, pleaded guilty last April to trafficking marijuana, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and conspiracy to possess proceeds of crime. He is still awaiting sentencing and is free on $7,000 bail.
Organization: Hells Angels
Source of article:Chronicle Herald