- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

Federal authorities have arrested two Louisiana men, including an inmate in the Tangipahoa Parish Prison near New Orleans, in a $15,000 assassination plot to kill a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Johnnie Sims was arrested Wednesday night as he attempted to hire a hit man to kill DEA Agent Chad Scott, said William J. Renton Jr., special agent in charge of the DEA’s New Orleans field office. Chris Walker, 30, also was charged but already was in custody from his Oct. 13 arrest for possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine.

“This arrest and the swift federal response to the vicious plot to murder a career DEA special agent should serve as compelling evidence of our absolute commitment to take any steps necessary to protect the lives of law-enforcement officers and citizens alike from those dangerous criminals who prey upon society with no regard for human life,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, federal agents learned of the purported assassination plot from cooperating inmates who said Mr. Walker was seeking to hire someone to kill Mr. Scott.

Mr. Renton said federal agents set up a sting operation, during which the cooperating witnesses provided to Mr. Walker the telephone number of an undercover agent who was posing as the killer. He said Mr. Walker then contacted Mr. Sims, a cousin and drug trafficking associate, to pay the undercover agent to kill Mr. Scott.

Mr. Sims, 25, contacted the undercover agent and, according to Mr. Renton, had two meetings with him concerning the desire of Mr. Walker to kill the agent. He said Mr. Sims agreed to pay the undercover agent $15,000 for the murder.

During the second meeting, Mr. Renton said Mr. Sims identified a picture of Mr. Scott, stating he wanted him killed as soon as possible. He also paid the undercover agent $1,000 as a down payment for the killing. Shortly after the meeting, agents arrested Mr. Sims at a shopping center in Metairie, La.

Mr. Renton said Mr. Sims was in possession of a semiautomatic pistol at the time of his arrest.

Mr. Sims has since agreed to cooperate with authorities and confessed to his role in the plot to kill the agent, Mr. Renton said. Mr. Walker remains in jail on the federal drug trafficking charges and has been detained without bond pending trial.

The investigation is ongoing and, Mr. Renton said, additional suspects are expected to be arrested.

“As we move forward in rebuilding our ravaged region, the people we serve should take comfort in the knowledge that the men and women of federal law enforcement will employ every weapon in our arsenal to hunt down and bring to justice anyone who poses a threat to the lives and safety of our law-enforcement professionals or to those brave citizens who come forward as witnesses.”

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