Two former U.S. Army solders who planned to kill a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and informant for Colombian drug lords have been arrested and are being returned to New York to face charges, the DEA announced today.
Joseph Manuel Hunter, nicknamed "Rambo," is charged with recruiting a team of former military snipers including an ex-Army sergeant and several former soliders from other countries, to committ the murders. Hunter, 48, and Timothy Vamvakias, 42, agreed to carry out the murders for $700,000 plus another $100,000 to Hunter for his leadership role.
"The bone-chilling allegations in today's indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "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."
The Colombian drug lords were in fact DEA informants. The killings were to take place in Liberia. Hunter was arrested in Thailand, while Vamvakias was apprehended in Liberia.
Earlier this year, Hunter and Vamvakias traveled to Asia to meet with the DEA informants and said his team "wanted to do as much 'bonus work' as possible." Bonus work is code for contract killings. During the meeting, Vamvakias said the team needed a submachine gun and two .22-caliber pistols for the murders.
Since leaving the military in 2004, Hunter has allegedly worked as a contract killer, arranging for the murder of numerous people, Bharara said.