"The bone-chilling allegations in today's indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a news conference. "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 indictment described 48-year-old Joseph Hunter, also known as "Rambo," as a contract killer and leader of the group of ex-snipers. Hunter, a resident of Thailand, was being flown Friday to New York after he was expelled from Thailand, Bharara said. Hunter was to appear in court Saturday.
Hunter recruited several ex-soldiers in late 2012 and early this year to be a security team for drug traffickers, said the indictment. According to the court papers, the DEA's sources promised Hunter at a March meeting in an Asian country that his security team would be protecting thousands of kilos of marijuana and would be seeing "tons of cocaine and millions of dollars."
Audio and video recordings of the meeting show Hunter discussing "bonus jobs" of contract killings, saying the men he had recruited want to do as much "bonus" work as possible, the indictment said.
"That's fun, actually for me that's fun. I love this work," an ex-German soldier was quoted in court papers as saying. The documents described numerous conversations at meetings in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean from January through September that were recorded by Drug Enforcement Administration agents building a case through confidential sources posing as Colombian drug traffickers.