Source: NBC News
An Air National Guardsman was arrested and charged Thursday with applying to be a hitman on a parody website, officials say.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, of Tennessee, came across www.rentahitman.com as he was searching for contract mercenary jobs to support his family, the U.S. attorney’s office for Middle Tennessee said in a statement. The website was created in 2005 and to advertise a cybersecurity startup, but when it failed, it would get inquiries for hitman services — so its administrator converted it to a parody site with false testimonials from people who claimed to have used its services, the criminal complaint says.
Garcia applied on the website for work as a hitman in February, submitting identification documents and a résumé, as well as "indicating he was an expert marksman," earning him the nickname "Reaper," and was "employed in the Air National Guard since July 2021," according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Garcia continued to follow up on the website for about a month — submitting even more identifying information, including his home address and a headshot — and eventually agreed to kill someone for $5,000 in a conversation with an undercover FBI agent, according to the criminal complaint.
"On Wednesday, Garcia met the undercover agent at a park in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and was provided with a target packet of a fictional individual, which included photographs and other information about the individual to be killed, and a down payment of $2,500," the U.S. attorney's office said. "After agreeing to the terms of the murder arrangement, Garcia asked the agent if he needed to provide a photograph of the dead body. Garcia was then arrested by FBI agents, who in a subsequent search of his home, recovered an AR-style rifle."
Garcia was charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. If he is found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
The FBI investigation continues.