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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests Of Two North Carolina Men For Conspiring To Kidnap And Murder As Part Of A Murder-For-Hire Scheme Overseas

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
In Furtherance Of The Scheme, The Defendants Are Alleged To Have Killed A Woman In The Philippines By Shooting Her Multiple Times In The Face And To Have Conspired To Launder The Payments Received For The Murder

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mark Hamlet, the Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced the arrests of two defendants – ADAM SAMIA and CARL DAVID STILLWELL, both citizens of the United States and residents of North Carolina.  SAMIA and STILLWELL were arrested in Roxboro, North Carolina, and will be presented tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld of the Middle District of North Carolina.

SAMIA and STILLWELL are charged in three separate counts with conspiracy to kidnap and murder in the Philippines; discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of committing murder-for-hire.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged in the indictment, Samia and Stillwell traveled as hired guns from North Carolina to the Philippines to commit a cold-blooded murder, ultimately shooting their victim in the face several times and dumping her body on a pile of garbage.  After their contract killing, they allegedly covered their tracks by conspiring to launder the blood-money back to the United States.  Thanks to the DEA’s exemplary investigative work and the cooperation of local and federal law enforcement in North Carolina, Samia and Stillwell are now in custody,”

Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Mark Hamlet said: “U.S. citizens who murder and commit crimes overseas are not immune from justice.  Adam Samia and Carl Stillwell are accused of heinous crimes and DEA is pleased that they will stand trial in a U.S. court of law.”

According to the Indictment against SAMIA and STILLWELL unsealed today[1]:

SAMIA is a self-described “Personal Protection/Security Industry” professional.  According to SAMIA’s resume, he has worked as an “Independent Contractor” for clients in the Philippines, China, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo; and has training in tactics and weapons, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, and machineguns.  According to STILLWELL’s resume, he has training and experience in the field of information technology and has worked at a firm in North Carolina that provides firearms training.

In 2011 and 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL agreed to commit murders-for-hire in overseas locations in exchange for monthly salaries and bonus payments for each victim.  In early 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL traveled from North Carolina to the Philippines, where they obtained, among other things, information about their intended victims and firearms to use to commit the murders.

In January and February 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL conducted surveillance on their intended victims in the Philippines as they formulated their plans for the murders.  On or about February 12, 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL killed one of their intended victims – a Filipino woman – in the Philippines by shooting her in the face multiple times (“Victim-1”).  After killing Victim-1, SAMIA and STILLWELL disposed of her body on a pile of garbage.  SAMIA and STILLWELL were to be paid $35,000 each for completing the murder, and they sent thousands of dollars from the payments they received to the United States using, among other methods, structured wire transfers in amounts under $10,000.

In or about late February and early March 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL returned from the Philippines to North Carolina, where they continued to reside until their arrests today.

*          *          *

SAMIA, 41, and STILLWELL, 47, have each been charged with conspiracy to murder and kidnap in a foreign country (Count One), using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (Count Two), and conspiracy to commit money laundering (Count Three).  Counts One and Two each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and Count Three carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  Count Two also carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of 10 years in prison.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

The arrests of the defendants were the result of the close cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; DEA’s Special Operations Division, Bilateral Investigations Unit; DEA’s Atlanta Field Division, Raleigh Resident Office; the Durham Police Department; the Raleigh Police Department; the Harnett County Sherriff’s Office; the Wake County Sherriff’s Office; the Person County Sherriff’s Office; the Cary Police Department; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations; and Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina for its support and assistance.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Anna Skotko, Emil Bove, and Michael D. Lockard are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated July 22, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-190