A former US sniper instructor, nicknamed “Rambo” and currently serving 20 years in prison, has been accused of being part of an even bigger conspiracy.
Prosecutors say Joseph Hunter, a former US Army sergeant, who was jailed in 2016 for plotting to kill two people in Liberia in 2013, also planned a series of other contract killings for Paul Le Roux, a Zimbabwe-born organized criminal who was based in the Philippines.
Hunter now faces a life sentence over the murder-for-hire killing of a real estate agent Catherine Lee in the Philippines, as new information about the case has been revealed by the prosecution on Monday, October 16. Hunter allegedly paid hitmen Adam Samia, 43, and Carl Stillwell, 49, US$35,000 each to kill Ms. Lee, who was shot in the face in February 2012.
Both men were charged in 2015 in connection with Ms. Lee’s murder and are due to go to trial in April. They are from North Carolina, where Samia was a professional bodyguard and Stillwell worked for a company who provided firearms training.
Prosecutors say Samia advertised himself as a “personal protection/security industry professional” who was trained in using all sorts of guns and had worked in the Philippines, China, Papua New Guinea and the Congo.
Acting US Attorney Joon Kim said Hunter would be brought from Leavenworth penitentiary in Kansas to New York on October 25 to face the new charges.
Like a Tom Clancy Novel
When Hunter was arrested in Thailand in September 2013, federal prosecutor Preet Bharara said at the time the case felt like it had been “ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel.”
“Hunter and his cohorts turned from serving their countries as soldiers to becoming mercenaries for hire, plotting to kill a DEA agent and informant, and trafficking in massive quantities of cocaine,” said Mr. Bharara.
Le Roux had been arrested in Liberia in 2012 and admitted organizing a global drugs and weapons trafficking empire and ordering various murders around the world.