FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
TWO INDIVIDUALS INDICTED ON CHARGES OF MURDER FOR HIRE,
WITNESS TAMPERING AND ATTEMPTING TO MURDER FEDERAL OFFICIALS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal grand jury in Anchorage, Alaska today returned a six-count indictment against two defendants in a murder-for-hire plot to kill federal officials and a witness who was scheduled to testify in a trial.
Arnold Wesley Flowers and Sompong Khamsomphou, defendants in a pending fraud trial in the U.S. District Court of Alaska, were each charged in a superceding indictment that alleges a plot to kill an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), a United States District Court Judge and a government witness in the underlying fraud case.
The first count of the superceding indictment alleges that on or about Feb. 22, 2002, Flowers provided a handwritten note of four intended victims to an intermediary who was to make contact with a hit man. According to the indictment, the intermediary and Khamsomphou then called a person they believed was a contract killer to arrange for the murder of a government witness. The indictment alleges that Khamsomphou traveled to a hotel to meet with the contract killer and provided a down payment for four murder contracts.
The second count charges that the two defendants conspired to arrange the killings of both the prosecuting attorney and presiding judge in the case of U.S. v. Flowers and Khamsomphou. In addition, the defendants were charged with one count of attempting to kill a witness to prevent testimony, and two counts of attempting to kill an officer or employee of the United States. Flowers and Khamsomphou were also charged with one count of using a facility in interstate commerce with intent to commit murder for hire, because telephones were used to arrange the planned killings.
If convicted, the defendants face maximum penalties of life in prison, a fine and five years of supervised release.
The investigation leading to the arrest was the result of the cooperative efforts of the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the United States Marshals Service.
The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. The United States Attorney's Office in Alaska recused itself from the matter since it involved one of its employees as a victim and a federal judge in the district.
An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.