Wednesday, January 20, 2010
2 men accused of plotting to kill prosecutor, federal agent
January 19, 2010 7:13 PM
Already accused of using the name of a professor at Northwestern University to buy chemicals to make Ecstasy, Frank Caira allegedly asked a friend to help get him out of trouble by paying someone to kill a federal prosecutor and a drug agent on his case.
Federal authorities today said the two men tried to hire a gang member with a murder conviction in his background to do the job. But when they didn't pay him the cocaine they'd promised, the gang member allegedly passed information about the plot to his defense lawyer, who in turn called the FBI.
Caira, 39, of Downers Grove, was charged with solicitation of murder, along with Jack Mann, 41, of Naperville. Both remained in custody today.
Court records show Caira was charged in the drug case in December 2008, while working as a research technologist at Northwestern. He allegedly used the name of a professor to order chemicals and equipment used in Ecstasy production and was facing 14 years in prison.
It was Mann who allegedly reached out to the gang member on Caira's behalf, promising four kilograms of cocaine. The gang member later told authorities he wasn't planning on doing the hit anyway, and was only going to steal two kilograms he hoped to get as a down payment.
But that would have been news to Mann, who allegedly passed the names of the intended victims to the "hitman." By Dec. 27, the gang member had agreed to cooperate with authorities, and allegedly taped a conversation he had with Mann, who was complaining that Caira hadn't agreed to put up anything before the job was done.
"Now he's gonna play me for a (expletive,)" Mann allegedly was recorded saying, later adding, "No, (expletive), my time's worth money. If you want Jack Mann, you're gonna (expletive) pay."
Mann's attorney, Michael Petro, said his client would likely challenge his detention at a later time. Petro said Mann is a "respected member of the community."
Attorneys for Caira could not immediately be reached for comment. Assistant U.S. attorneys from the Northern District of Indiana were handling the case Tuesday after prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago recused themselves to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
Angie Leventis Lourgos contributed.
Psalm 141:10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.