A man facing drug charges has been convicted of offering $25,000 to have the prosecutor on his case murdered.
A jury in federal court in Lexington convicted Edgar Villa-Castaneda, 43, on charges of threatening to murder the prosecutor and soliciting someone to commit the murder, according to U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman.
The object of the threat was Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Duncan, who has been nominated as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky but has not yet been confirmed by the Senate.
Villa-Castaneda was being held in the Woodford County Detention Center in 2015 pending trial on federal drug charges when he made the threat, according to a news release and court records.
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Villa-Castaneda felt he and his son were wrongly being portrayed as major drug dealers.
Villa-Castaneda asked another inmate if he knew anyone who could “whack” Duncan, and said he would pay $25,000 for the hit.
He suggested making a bomb using acid and throwing it at Duncan, according to a court document.
The other inmate told his lawyer about the solicitation, and the lawyer contacted the FBI.
Villa-Castaneda admitted making the statements but said he didn’t really want Duncan killed, according to a court document.
Jurors convicted Villa-Castaneda Tuesday after deliberating about 45 minutes.
Villa-Castaneda, a Mexican national, faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.
“The rule of law requires public servants of character to enforce that law,” Coleman said. “I am grateful to the men and women of the jury in Lexington, who through today’s verdict reinforced that any serious threat to the safety and security of our prosecutors puts our entire community at risk and will not be permitted in our commonwealth.”
Coleman is the federal prosecutor for Western Kentucky. His office handled the case because Duncan works in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington.