An Air National Guardsman is facing federal charges after trying to apply to work as a hitman to earn some extra cash on the side, in addition to his job in the Army, the Department of Justice said in a news release.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, of Tennessee, who calls himself “The Reaper,” tried to get involved in the murder-for-hire scheme after he stumbled upon a website, rentahitman.com, which he believed was a site for those looking to work as a hitman.
The domain is actually a spoof site offering bogus testimonials from individuals who claimed to use the services of a hitman, however Garcia was so desperate for extra money he was allegedly willing to pull off a hit for only $5,000, apparently completely unaware that the site was a spoof sarcastic.
Garcia needed money to support his family and started looking for contract mercenary jobs online in mid-February while searching through the site. García indicated in his profile that while he would be fine with killing in his home state, he would prefer to travel for work.
The site was originally set up in 2005 to advertise a cybersecurity startup, but it failed and, over the next decade, received numerous inquiries about its kill-for-hire services.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, is facing federal charges for his attempted involvement in a murder-for-hire scheme with an undercover FBI agent
Garcia, 21, needed money to support his family and searched online for a job as a hitman even though he landed a job with the Tennessee Air National Guard.
Originally created in 2005 to advertise a cybersecurity startup, the website is now a parody site with a feedback form where people can request Hitman services.
The website owner then turned the site into a parody site with a feedback form where people could request such services along with the option for someone to apply to work as a contract killer.
Garcia submitted a job inquiry indicating that he was interested in obtaining work as a hitman.
He then went through his initial application again and again and provided other identification documents including a resume indicating he was an expert marksman and had been with the Tennessee National Guard since July 2021.
The biography also indicated that Garcia had the nickname “Reaper”, which he gained from his military experience and marksmanship.
Garcia continued to follow up with the site manager, stating his desire to begin work as soon as possible.
Garcia submitted an inquiry to the site to work as an assassin with the site’s owner and then forwarded his information to the FBI
During a search of Garcia’s home, an AR rifle was found. Posted about it online
Garcia allegedly did not realize the site was a joke and repeatedly contacted the site’s administrator to obtain work as a hitman.
There are even some fake testimonials on the site promoting the illusion of legitimacy
Just over a month later, an undercover FBI agent became involved and began communicating with Garcia. He ended up agreeing to kill an individual for $5,000.
On Wednesday, Garcia met the undercover agent at a park in Hendersonville, Tennessee, where he was given information for a fictional person, including photos of the person he needed to kill, as well as a down payment of $2,500.
After agreeing to the terms of the murder arrangement, Garcia asked the agent if he needed to provide a photo of the body.
‘You locked up?’ Is this what you want? Because you seem to have a lot going on. You are in the army. you have a college. You have too much, the agent asked, regarding the good things in your life to “get into this world.”
“It’s a shady world, and I don’t want you to regret it if you come to work for us, because, I mean, it messes with your brain, and it shoots people.”
Garcia has stated that he has been balancing the psychological effects of killing someone and that he has no qualms about it.
Garcia allegedly told the undercover FBI agent that he needed the money to support his family and began looking for contract mercenary jobs online in mid-February.
Garcia claims he was nicknamed “The Reaper,” which he says he gained from his military experience and marksmanship.
He stated to the undercover agent that he would prefer to work in another country but that it would also be nice if he could kill locally.
Then the steward told him that if he killed fifty people, he would make a great sum of money.
“These are junior numbers for the grim reaper.” Garcia allegedly responded before adding, “My only question is when can I start? I’m so excited.”
Garcia is then captured by FBI agents. During a subsequent search of his home, an AR rifle was found.
If convicted, Garcia faces up to 10 years in prison.
Garcia has since stated that it was a fellow Tennessee Air National Guard member who suggested he look for hitman jobs as a way to earn some extra cash.
Garcia’s plan to become a hitman “missed” the mark when the FBI set up a sting operation that led to his arrest