PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man tried to hire a hitman to torture and kill two men, including a contractor he said owed him $8,500, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Agustin Vinas, 51, of Providence, was held without bail at an initial court appearance last week, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.
An email seeking comment was left Monday with Vinas’ public defender.
Authorities started investigating last month after Vinas had a chance meeting with an acquaintance and mentioned that he was owed the money by a person who had threatened to harm his family if he did not stop his repeated requests for payment, according to an FBI affidavit.
Vinas had completed a construction job for the contractor a year ago, according to the FBI.
He also said he was looking for someone to kill the contractor and one of the contractor’s employees. Their names were blacked out in court documents.
The acquaintance told Vinas that he might know of someone interested in the job, but instead informed the FBI, according to court documents.
The next day, while under FBI surveillance, the two met again. In a recorded conversation, Vinas offered to pay $3,000 for the killings, explained that he would like to have the victims tortured first, and offered to pay an additional $500 to make the bodies “disappear.”
In a third meeting, Vinas was introduced to a “hitman” who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer.
Vinas agreed to provide a deposit for the killings, and said, “I’m not dying until this guy is dead,” according to prosecutors.
At a subsequent meeting, Vinas and the undercover officer talked again. Vinas was asked on several occasions at that time if he was certain he wanted the killings committed, and said “I am 100% sure,” and even offered to sign a contract, according to court documents.
Vinas was arrested Friday on a charge of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, prosecutors said.
Get Boston.com's browser alerts:
Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.