Former sniper, two other ex-soldiers acted as contract killers for international crime boss: Prosecutors

Three former U.S. soldiers are accused of taking part in a murder-for-hire scheme on behalf of a crime boss in the Philippines.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, ex-Army sniper Joseph Hunter and two other former soldiers, Adam Samia and Carl David Stillwell, went on trail this week on charges that they operated in coordination with a mercenary group operating outside of the law.

At the time of an alleged 2012 execution police said left one of Paul Le Roux’s enemies dead, prosecutors claim Hunter was employed the powerful drug trafficker’s security chief. He is then accused of recruiting Samia and Stillwell to travel from their North Carolina homes to the Philippines for what he dubbed “ninja work.”

In reality, authorities say what the trio were engaged in was a highly profitable scheme to get rid of as many people on the international crime boss’ “kill list.”

During opening statements this week in a Manhattan federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Egan claimed Hunter equipped his accomplices with guns and other equipment. He allegedly told them Le Roux was prepared to pay each mercenary $35,000 for their participation in a hit.

“If Paul Le Roux wanted somebody killed, these guys got the call,” Egan added. “For these men, more murders meant more money.”

The trio of suspects were arrested in 2015 following an alleged payment for the murder of a real estate agent, Catherine Lee, accused by Le Roux of cheating him out of money.

Authorities say they found an image of a bloody head saved to Stillwell’s phone. That picture was allegedly taken near the time of Lee’s death and he has since acknowledged that he was in the driver’s seat of a vehicle when the victim was killed.

Defense attorneys for the three men dispute the allegations against them, though. Jeremy Schneider, who represents Samia, said his client agreed only to “legitimate” and “legal” security assignments.

[Featured image: Joseph Hunter/Associated Press]