Rent-a-hitman application gets soldier arrested
A 21-year-old member of the Air National Guard in the US state of Tennessee is facing up to ten years in prison after applying for a job at Rentahitman.com and accepting a downpayment for a contract killing from an undercover FBI agent.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, has been charged with “use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire,” the US attorney’s office in Nashville said on Thursday.
According to federal prosecutors, Garcia applied for contract mercenary work on the website back in February. Saying he needed more money for his family, he bragged about being an expert marksman with several weapons, nicknamed “Reaper.”
“I’m looking for a job, that pays well, related to my military experience (Shooting and Killing the marked target) so I can support my kid on the way,” the criminal complaint quotes Garcia as saying in a follow-up email. “What can I say, I enjoy doing what I do, so if I can find a job that is similar to it, (such as this one) put me in coach!”
Rentahitman.com turned out to be a trap. Originally created for a cybersecurity startup in 2005, it was converted into “a parody site” with false testimonials and a form to apply for “services,” according to the prosecutors. Its owner, Bob Innes, emailed Garcia back upon receiving a request from the FBI, telling him someone would be in touch.
Garcia ended up hearing from an undercover FBI agent, agreeing to kill someone for $5,000, half of it up front. He met with the contact in a Hendersonville, Tennessee park on Wednesday, and was provided with the downpayment and a fictional “target packet.” After Garcia asked if he needed to show proof of the deed, he was arrested by the FBI.
Another 21-year-old guard airman was arrested on Friday. Massachusetts ANG member Jack Teixeiera was charged with leaking classified Pentagon documents pertaining to the Ukraine conflict on an online chat platform.