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Meet the ATF's Undercover Hit-Men

These guys agree to kill for pay—then turn around and bust their customers
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 7:21 PM CST
Updated Nov 9, 2013 7:00 PM CST
Meet the ATF's Undercover Hit-Men

Looking to hire a hit-man to off that two-timing spouse, jerk boss, or wealthy relative? Of course you aren't, but hypothetically, if you were, you might want to reconsider: Many of those thuggish gents named "Thrash" and "Hammer" who say they can take care of your little problem for a small fee are actually undercover agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, GQ reports. Reporter Jeanne Marie Laskas tags along with one such agent while a potential customer tries to pay him to cut his ex-girlfriend's face until she's disfigured.

The "hit-man" goes along with it—planning everything from the knife he'll use, the cigar he agrees to burn her face with—before the Feds swoop in at the last minute, busting the customer and pretending to arrest the hit-man, too. It happens more often than you'd think, writes Laskas, and the customers come from all walks of life. Sometimes the customers want proof, so the fake assassins have to stage elaborate photos of their "hits." And sometimes the cases are ethically ambiguous; in one instance, the hit-man was hired to kill a woman's former son-in-law, who she said was molesting her grandchild. She was arrested the next day, charged with federal murder for hire. Click through for the incredible full article. (Read more ATF stories.)

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