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Joseph Manuel Hunter, who was arrested and sent back to the United States this week to face drug trafficking charges along with five others is an ex-army sniper named Rambo and an international hitman according to a report in the UK’s Daily Mail.
Although previous reports stated that, despite his claims, there was no evidence to say he had ever served time in the military, it is now bring reported that he was a highly decorated former sniper.
Allegedly ‘Rambo’ became a contract killer for drug cartels after he left the military and stands accused of running an international cartel of hitmen ‘straight from the pages of Tom Clancy’ and he was plotting to murder a DEA agent for US $800,000.
Charges against him were announced by prosecutors in Manhattan. Hunter, who was handed to agents from the DEA after being arrested in Thailand, was portrayed as an ex-soldier eager to kill for money, along with his accomplices.
Allegedly during his time in the military from 1983 to 2004 Hunter was a sniper instructor and a drill sergeant and later went on to become a contract killer who arranged multiple murders overseas. It has been reported that Hunter was captured on tape describing how he had arranged to have two real estate agents bumped off. Although authorities said those killings had occurred outside the United States they would not provide any details.
Hunter was caught in an international sting operation by the DEA, in which agents posed as Colombian drug lords and offered Hunter a contract to kill a fellow DEA agent and informer in Liberia for $800,000.
“The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evils ends” said an attorney for the Federal government.
Further allegations suggest that Hunter enlisted the services of a former German army sniper Dennis Gogel and fellow US veteran Timothy Vamvakias, men who he found by searching through resumes online when he was offered the job to kill the DEA agent. He also recruited several ex-soldiers in late 2012 and earlier in 2013 to be a security team for drug traffickers according to the indictment.
According to the court papers the DEA’s sources promised Hunter, at a meeting in March 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 that his men wanted to do as much ‘bonus work’ as possible, according to the indictment.
Mr Bharara, quoted as saying that Hunter’s activities cold have been ripped straight from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel, said when assassinations of a federal agent and informant were proposed Hunter “didn’t flinch at the chance”, he boasted that his men could handle both jobs.
The indictment said that the DEA source posing as a drug traffickers in May proposed to the snipers that they kill a DEA agent and boat captain providing information to U. S law enforcement authorities, saying it was necessary because there was a ‘leak’ within the narcotics trafficking organization.
According to the indictment in an email exchange Hunter responded “My guys will handle it….Are you talking about both the captain and agent or just the captain?”
They ordered submachine guns, pistols and sophisticated latex masks and shipped them to Africa in preparation for the hit.
The DEA intercepted Gogel and Vamvakias in Africa before organizing the arrest of Hunter. The Thai police said that they were contacted by the DEA several months ago and were told that Hunter may have been hiding in a rented house in Phuket. Another former German sniper and Polish counter-terror expert were also arrested this week and will also be extradited back to the US
Derek Maltz, special agent in charge of the DEA Special Operations Division, said the snipers were caught by agents dedicated to “outwit them, outwork them, outsmart them and put them out of business.”