Police Used ‘Mr. Big’ Scenario to Learn Truth behind Calgary Gang Slayings

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Real Christian Honorio, 25, is led to the Arrest Processing Unit earlier this week. Honorio faces three murder charges in connection with a New Year’s Day shooting at a Calgary restaurant.

The city police officer who played the crime boss in an undercover operation involving suspect Real Christian Honorio said he used profane language and tried to make the target comfortable so he would tell the truth about a gang-related triple homicide.

Sgt. Darren Berglind said he had been to the scene of the shootings on New Year’s Day 2009 at Bolsa Restaurant and had extensive contact with other undercover officers about previous scenarios and with homicide investigators about the case before the June 2, 2009, “modified job interview” with Honorio.

It was how Honorio responded to the new information about his alleged involvement in the crime, he said, that would determine whether he would remain a member of his so-called elite fictitious criminal group for which he had been “working” for three months.

“It depended on the information whether he continued on,” Berglind told defence lawyer Tonii Roulston under cross-examination. “I’m not saying he’s not in, based on what we discovered. I’ll decided that at the end of the interview . . . In my mind, when I think of Mr. Honorio, he was part of our organization. He was fledgling, a rookie, but part of our group.”

Berglind agreed the hold back information he had been given from homicide investigators would determine greatly if he was either there or close to those who were there or, conversely, not involved and would be exonerated during the ‘Mr. Big’ scenario.

The holdback information included the calibre of three handguns — .357 Magnum, .45 calibe and 9 millimetre — used separately to kill FK gang member Sanjeev Mann, 23, FK associate Aaron Bendle, 21, and innocent bystander Keni S’ua, 43.

Other holdback involved the fact Mann was wearing a bulletproof vest and that bullets circumvented the vest and killed him.Berglind admitted he lied to Honorio several times during the surreptitiously videotaped four-hour interview at a Vancouver hotel room, and that he didn’t confront him on several occasions when the target lied.

“He was clearly respectful of me and held me in high regard,” said Berglind. “I was a figurehead to him, I wanted him to be comfortable so he’d talk openly to me. As the interview progressed I felt he got less nervous and more comfortable.”

Berglind said he had extensive contacts, including such people as civil servants, police officers, court clerks who could access information, in order to entice Honorio to tell the truth. He also said he felt Honorio would fit in nicely to his group and could get a fake passport and new identification quickly so Honorio could avoid being caught for the slayings.

Eventually, Honorio confessed in extensive details that he was one of the shooters who went into the restaurant, and that he had shot Mann as retribution for him going to his home and threatening his parents for Honorio, a member of the 403 Soldiers gang, selling guns to FK rival FOB gang members.

He also said his two accomplices — whom he knew as Nate and Eric — targeted Mann, an FK member, as payback for having been wounded in a shootout in Chinatown in downtown Calgary in late 2008.

Honorio said he joined forces with the friendly FOBs to kidnap Bendle on New Year’s Eve. They kept him at gunpoint all night in order to find out Mann’s whereabouts and kill him.

He said they got Bendle to lead him to Bolsa, where Mann was eating with his girlfriend and another man, so they could kill him.

Another witness said Bendle had to be killed because he saw people and knew their names from the 12 hours he was held hostage. Berglind told Honorio in the interview he had been vouched for by one of his top up-and-coming members, Det. Rey Bangloy, who had groomed him the entire time, but he had to come clean about the Jan. 1 massacre as the organization didn’t want “heat” from police about it.

Berglind also criticized Honorio’s group as being sloppy in the shootings. The target later agreed they were sloppy in many ways.

Nathan Zuccherato, 25, believed to be the one Honorio referred to as Nat, and Michael Roberto, 28, believed to be Eric, were each convicted by a jury in October of three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the massacre.

They were sentenced to the mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

The trial before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman and jury continues.

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