Operation SharQc ends with a whimper as last Hells Angel with open case pleads guilty to conspiracy

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The last open case in Operation SharQc ended with a whimper on Tuesday as one of the founding members of the Hells Angels in Canada pleaded guilty to being part of the gang’s biker war in Quebec. 

Robert Bonomo, 69, one of the first men to become a Hells Angels when a gang called the Popeyes was patched over by the world’s biggest outlaw motorcycle gang on Dec. 5, 1977, admitted at the Montreal courthouse that he was part of the general murder conspiracy that was the basis of Operation SharQc. 

In April 2009, almost every member of the Hells Angels based in Quebec was arrested and charged with the conspiracy, which involved the gang’s bloody war with rivals in this province between 1994 and 2002. The war was over drug-trafficking turf and more than 160 people were killed during it. Originally, most of the Hells Angels arrested in SharQc also faced 22 first-degree murder charges. But over the course of time, almost every gang member who has entered a guilty plea has only admitted to being part of the conspiracy. 

Bonomo did the same on Tuesday and because of errors made by the Crown during a trial that was aborted last year, the longtime Hells Angel is likely to serve only one day behind bars. His sentence recommendation is based on an 8-year-prison term, less the 15 months he served behind bars awaiting the outcome of his case (he was granted bail in 2010) and another reduction that involves the error made when the Crown failed for months to turn over evidence to defence lawyers in the murder trial aborted last year. 

Superior Court Justice James Brunton is expected to rule on the joint sentence recommendation later on Tuesday afternoon.

Eighteen men who are full-patch members of the Hells Angels, or underlings in the gang, have pleaded guilty to taking part in a general conspiracy to commit murder. The guilty pleas were entered as part of Operation SharQc.

Eighteen men who are full-patch members of the Hells Angels, or underlings in the gang, have pleaded guilty to taking part in a general conspiracy to commit murder. The guilty pleas were entered as part of Operation SharQc. GETPICS File Photo

Despite being one of the longest-standing Canadian members of the Hells Angels, Bonomo has a small criminal record that involves one conviction for mischief in 1976. When police carried out search warrant in Operation SharQc on April 14, 2009, they discovered 30 Ziploc bags containing 200 contraband cigarettes. Bonomo was charged with violating tax laws, which are not part of the Criminal Code of Canada. He fought the case and claimed the cigarettes could have belonged to a woman Bonomo has described in court as both his spouse and someone who pays rent to him while residing in the same building in Sorel. He was found guilty in the case on Oct. 11, 2013, and was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine.  

Bonomo is an expert on computers and during a court hearing in 2013, he described himself as a retired person who maintains personal websites on a daily basis and who upgrades sites for other people for a nominal yearly fee. On his 2012 federal income tax form, he declared $1,095.75 of income from his work on the websites. 

According to the Quebec business registry, Bonomo is listed as the first shareholder in Anges de l’enfer Montréal Inc., a company the biker gang has owned since 1981. The man currently listed as its president is Gilles Lambert, considered to be one of the most influential members of the biker gang who is not currently arrested or detained in any ongoing criminal case. 

Bonomo’s case was the last one that remained opened among the dozens of people who were arrested in Operation SharQc since 2009. 

There are still charges pending against nine other Hells Angels who were never arrested in Operation SharQc. Warrants for their arrest were issued in April 2009 and they have never been found. The nine men are: Mario Bergeron, 52, Michel Bergeron, 60, Marc Bordage, 52, Gaetan Brisebois, 46, Antonio Costella, 54, Luc Emond, 49, Claude Gauthier, 48, Marcellin Morin, 49, and Guy Rodrigue, 58. 

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Paul Cherry
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