Skip to main content
Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Hiring Undercover DEA Agent to Murder a Relative in California

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

PITTSBURGH, Pa – A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to a term of eight years (96 months) in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of using interstate commerce facilities in connection with a murder for hire, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence upon Brad Lanese, 52. Lanese was originally charged by complaint on December 8, 2017 and detained after his initial appearance and detention hearing.

The court was advised that 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 asked 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 injecting L.D. with a fatal dose of heroin/fentanyl mix in the marijuana fields, and pushing 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 Drug Enforcement Agency - Pittsburgh Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Pittsburgh Division, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Narcotics and Vice Division, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Agency - Santa Rosa, California Division, conducted the investigation that led to the guilty plea and sentence in this case. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California also assisted in the prosecution of this case.

Updated March 13, 2019

Violent Crime