By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two North Carolina men were charged on Wednesday with killing a Filipino woman in a murder-for-hire plot, federal prosecutors in New York said.
Adam Samia, 41, and Carl David Stillwell, 47, were arrested at their homes in Roxboro, North Carolina, according to the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The two men are accused of traveling to the Philippines and murdering a woman there in February 2012 in exchange for a promised $35,000 each. The woman was shot multiple times in the face and left on a pile of garbage, prosecutors said.
The case is connected to an earlier high-profile prosecution in New York involving an international team of military-trained contract killers led by a former U.S. Army sniper instructor nicknamed “Rambo.”
In that case, the instructor, Joseph Manuel Hunter, was accused of recruiting former U.S. and European soldiers to carry out killings for the purported leaders of a Colombian drug cartel, later revealed to be undercover U.S. drug enforcement informants running a sting operation.
Though Wednesday's indictment does not mention Hunter by name, it was filed in Manhattan federal court as part of the Hunter case and assigned to the same judge.
In addition, according to court documents, Hunter was recorded discussing with his partners an operation he directed involving two men who had killed a woman in the Philippines.
Hunter said they did a “sloppy” job," according to a transcript.
The Samia and Stillwell indictment, meanwhile, said an unnamed man hired them for the Philippines job and later sent an angry email calling their work “sloppy.”
Hunter, who was charged in 2013 alongside four other former soldiers, pleaded guilty in February and faces up to life in prison at sentencing.
His four co-defendants also pleaded guilty.
Samia is a self-described “personal protection/security industry” professional trained in tactics and weapons, while Stillwell’s resume claims he worked at a North Carolina firm that provides firearms training, the indictment said.
They were charged with conspiring to murder and kidnap abroad, using a firearm to commit a violent crime and conspiring to launder money. They face up to life in prison if convicted.
"As alleged in the indictment, Samia and Stillwell traveled as hired guns from North Carolina to the Philippines to commit a cold-blooded murder," Bharara said.
Lawyers for the two men, who are expected to appear in federal court in North Carolina on Thursday, were not immediately known.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Diane Craft and Lisa Shumaker)