It’s been 18 months since an Eastern Shore man pleaded guilty to three charges from an undercover investigation into drug trafficking by the Hells Angels motorcycle club, and he still hasn’t been sentenced.
Paul Frances Monahan, 64, of Ostrea Lake was supposed to be sentenced Thursday in Dartmouth provincial court, but the hearing was adjourned because of concerns about his health.
Defence lawyer Peter Planetta requested the adjournment on behalf of his client, and the prosecutor did not oppose the motion.
“I understand it’s been adjourned a number of times,” Planetta said of the sentencing, “but my concern is that Mr. Monahan is in very poor health.”
He said Monahan has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other ailments and would be “at high risk” if he were to contract COVID-19 in prison.
“The only realistic outcome here is a federal period of incarceration,” Planetta said. “While there are a couple of institutions within the Atlantic bubble, I think, given the affiliations involved, it would be likely that Mr. Monahan would end up in a different part of the country once in the federal system.
“Given what’s going on in other places, I’m trying to avoid putting him in that risk. So I’m going to ask to adjourn this for a couple of more months … and then see where we’re at then.”
Crown attorney Mike Taylor, who is seeking a four-year sentence, said the defence request was “very reasonable.”
“Under normal circumstances, I’d be very concerned that it’s getting quite long in the tooth,” Taylor told the court. “But I do recognize that Mr. Monahan … seems to have significant health issues.”
The prosecutor agreed there’s “at least a reasonable likelihood” that Monahan could be transferred out of the Atlantic region.
“Certainly, we wouldn’t want this period of incarceration to turn into something that could potentially be deadly for him,” Taylor said. “Given these specific circumstances – it’s an exceptional case, I would say – the Crown is not opposed to the request being made by Mr. Planetta.”
Judge Frank Hoskins adjourned the sentencing until mid-December.
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Monahan and an Ontario man, Mark David Heickert of Orillia, were arrested on various drug-related charges in November 2017 following a nine-month investigation called Operation Harley.
Monahan was a hang-around member of the Hells Angels Nomads chapter in New Brunswick and a former hang-around member of a Hells Angels chapter in London, Ont. Heickert was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels in Oshawa, Ont.
RCMP executed search warrants at Monahan and Heickert’s homes and at the Nomads clubhouse in Musquodoboit Harbour. Officers seized two kilograms of cocaine, small amounts of hashish and marijuana, pills, a sawed-off shotgun, a large quantity of cash, outlaw motorcycle gang paraphernalia, cellphones and electronics.
Monahan pleaded guilty in April 2019 to charges of trafficking marijuana, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and conspiracy to possess proceeds of crime. He remains free on $7,000 bail.
Heickert, 51, entered guilty pleas in June 2019 on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, conspiracy to possess proceeds of crime and breaching his release conditions by having contact with another member of the Hells Angels. He was sentenced earlier this year to four years and seven months in prison and slapped with a $141,000 fine in lieu of forfeiture, to be paid within 10 years of his release.
According to an agreed statement of facts at Heickert’s sentencing, Monahan sold marijuana to an undercover RCMP officer several times over a period of six months in 2017 and also set up four purchases of cocaine at Heickert’s home in Ontario between June and November.
An undercover operative bought one kilogram of cocaine each of the first three times and two kilos the final time. The purchase price was $47,000 per kilo; Monahan conducted the first transaction and was paid an extra $3,000.