This past spring, the onetime sergeant, Joseph Hunter, 48, and two other former soldiers agreed to murder an undercover agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and one of that agency’s confidential informers, both in Liberia, for a total of $800,000, federal prosecutors said on Friday in Manhattan. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/nyregion/former-army-sergeant-became-contract-killer-authorities-say.html?hp&_r=0
The plot had been proposed by men who held themselves out as Colombian drug traffickers, an indictment says.
“My guys will handle it,” Mr. Hunter wrote in an e-mail on May 30, responding to a question as to whether his team would be willing to carry out the killings, the indictment charges.
In fact, the authorities said, the purported drug traffickers were confidential sources for the D.E.A. and part of an undercover sting operation that ultimately led to the arrests of Mr. Hunter and two others: another former American Army sergeant, Timothy Vamvakias, 42, and a former German corporal, Dennis Gogel, 27. All three were charged with conspiracy to murder the agent and the informer, as well as conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.
“The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evil ends,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Hunter referred to contract assassinations euphemistically as “bonus work” or “bonus jobs,” the indictment says, adding that he told the confidential informers that he had done such work before. Mr. Bharara said Mr. Hunter had successfully arranged for the murders “of numerous people,”.
Gogel told one of the drug agency informers that the murders could be made to resemble an ordinary street crime, “like a bad robbery or anything, you know,”
“Most of the bonus work is up close … because in the cities … you don’t get long-range shots,” the indictment quotes Hunter as saying.
“You know, we gotta do this, hit it hard, hit it fast, make sure it’s done,” and then leave.
“That’s the biggest headache,” he added. “The job’s not the headache; it’s getting in and out.”