A wannabe assassin looking to use his skills to earn some extra cash is now instead targeting a way to keep out of prison over a bogus murder-for-hire job application.
Authorities recently arrested a Tennessee Air National Guard service member after he reportedly sought work as a hitman on a fake website known to lure would-be criminals.
FBI agents earlier this month arrested Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, who allegedly attempted to become a hired killer with the parody website rentahitman.com, according to a criminal complaint filed in a Tennessee district court.
Authorities charged him Thursday for the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, the court release added.
Garcia reportedly first inquired about employment with the site on February 16, indicating he possessed “military experience, and rifle expertise.”
A few days later, the complaint alleges Garcia, nicknamed “Reaper,” submitted a resume noting his employment in the state’s Air National Guard from July 2021 to present. It remains unclear whether he submitted a cover letter or three professional references, as is custom with non-hitman job applications.
Capt. Kealy Moriarty, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Military Department, confirmed to Military Times that Garcia enlisted in the Tennessee Air National Guard in July 2021.
The fictitious murder-for-hire website was initially created in 2005 to advertise a cybersecurity startup, but the company never took off. The site administrator later converted it to a satirical webpage with pretend testimonials.
“Caught my husband cheating with the babysitter and our relationship was terminated after a free public relations consultation. I’m single again and looking to mingle,” one fake client wrote.
Rather than focus his job search on an accredited platform, Garcia sent multiple follow up emails to the site. The FBI eventually intervened, instructing the website owner to set up a “phone interview” with the aspiring hitman.
“I’ve been looking into this for some time now. I was looking for a way to make good money,” Garcia reportedly told the FBI, saying in another email to the website owner that he wanted a good paying job to support a child he had on the way.
In the interview, Garcia also reportedly said he would be comfortable with taking fingers or ears as trophies, or performing torture at a client’s request.
After seemingly passing his phone introduction, Garcia met with an undercover FBI agent on April 6 in Nashville, Tennessee. The agent told him he did not have to go through with the scheme, and could walk away at any time, but Garcia reportedly assured the agent he was in.
A few days later, undercover FBI agents messaged Garcia saying a job was available. Another meeting was then arranged at a public park outside Nashville.
During the rendezvous, the agent gave Garcia a “target package” consisting of photographs and a description of a fictional target’s name, weight, age, height, address and employment information. The agent told him the client would pay $5,000 for the target to be killed.
Garcia allegedly asked if he needed to take a photo of the dead person’s body as proof the job was complete. The FBI then arrested him.
The guardsman reportedly told investigators he met with the agent because he had second thoughts on the assassin role after learning he had been hired for another medical job.
If convicted, Garcia faces up to 10 years in prison, according to the court release.
Unrelated, sort of: The final season of “Barry” begins on April 16 on HBO.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media