Skip to main content
Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Charged in Interstate Murder for Hire Plot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH – Brad Lanese, 52, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with one count of Using Interstate Commerce Facilities with the Intent to Commit a Murder for Hire, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

According to the criminal complaint, unsealed yesterday, defendant Brad Lanese and two associates – identified as C.B and his wife, L.D. - ran a large marijuana grow operation in Northern California. When Lanese and L.D. began having difficulties, Lanese was asked to leave the property. Back in Pittsburgh, Lanese contacted a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Agency and enlisted that source to travel with him to Northern California in order to rob C.B. and L.D. of the profits from the marijuana grow operation.

On October 31, 2017, Lanese and the confidential source travelled to California. The next day, Lanese and the confidential source met with “Deeds,” a DEA operative acting in an undercover capacity who was to provide firearms and logistical support for the robbery. Lanese told “Deeds” that he no longer wanted to rob C.B., but wanted “Deeds” to murder someone instead. Lanese then hired “Deeds” to kill L.D. by suggesting that he inject L.D. with a fatal dose of heroin/fentanyl mix in the marijuana fields, and push L.D.’s body and car over the cliffs and into the Pacific Ocean. Lanese told “Deeds” that once L.D. was dead, he would be able to return to the marijuana grow operation and pay “Deeds” for the murder.

On November 14, 2017, back in Pittsburgh, Lanese confirmed to “Deeds” that he wanted L.D. to be murdered and agreed to pay $30,000 for the murder.

The defendant appeared on December 7 in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly. The government is seeking detention of the defendant pending trial. Lanese’s detention hearing is scheduled for December 12, 2017, at 10 a.m. in front of Judge Kelly.

The law provides for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Lanni is prosecuting this case. The Drug Enforcement Agency - Pittsburgh Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Pittsburgh Division, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Agency - Santa Rosa, California Division, conducted the investigation that led to the complaint against Lanese. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is also assisting in the prosecution of this case.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant may not be prosecuted unless, within 30 days, a grand jury has found probable cause to believe that he is guilty of an offense.

Updated December 11, 2017