An island district attorney stated that it was "like a Netflix story."
As members of a WhatsApp group that was created to help others in Puerto Rico, their phones began to ring last week.
They had just arrested the businessman they knew, who was also the administrator of this chat. He organized philanthropic efforts like a Christmas toy drive for children in need and renovations for an elementary schools.
Conor Vincent D'Monte was a leader of a violent gang that was being sought by Canadian authorities for charges including first-degree killing. He was on the run for over a decade.
Antonio Torres, chief deputy U.S. Marshal for Puerto Rico said that it was "like a Netflix story".
Although the 44-year-old D'Monte is not known when he arrived in Puerto Rico, authorities believe that he was using the name "Johnny Williams" at least for several months. Torres stated that the 6-foot-1-inch fugitive moved into an eastern mountain community near El Yunque rainforest. He lived in a house in an unnamed street in a working class neighborhood.
D'Monte would go with Karma Honey Project employees to the farmer's market in nearby Carolina every month. This was according to a woman who lived in the community and sold products next to his stall. Out of fear, she declined to reveal her name.
She said that "No one knew everything" and added that she was always struck by his quiet demeanor. "We were shocked."
D'Monte is still in Puerto Rico's federal prison as he awaits extradition. Although his public defense attorney declined to comment, she did note in a court hearing that D'Monte (who has Canadian and Irish citizenship) requested that they be notified.
People who had met D'Monte stated that he was honest and open about his intentions. D'Monte met with Puerto Rico's agriculture secretary and a senator from the region. He was invited to the governor’s mansion last month to discuss his role in saving honeybees following Hurricane Maria. This was part of his involvement in the Karma Honey Project (a non-profit company that was founded in February 2019). Candice Galek is a former model and Miami entrepreneur. Galek and her company did not return messages seeking comment.
The company's 2020 annual report, which is the most recent available, stated that it had a volume of business not exceeding $3 million. According to filings with Puerto Rico’s Registry of Corporations and Entities, the company's balance sheet did not show any assets or liabilities.
A Puerto Rican businessman said, "The guy fooled all of us," and asked not to be identified out of fear.