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10/19/2010

Canadian man sentenced to 20 years for kidnapping and murder for hire conspiracy

BOSTON - A Canadian man was sentenced yesterday in federal court for conspiring to commit kidnapping and murder for hire after an investigation led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston made the announcement today.

Nicholas Djokich, 59, of Calgary, Canada, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf to 20 years in prison for conspiring to kidnap and commit murder for hire with respect to a man he claimed had been involved in defrauding him of millions of dollars.

"Cross border crime is a serious threat to the safety and security of the American public and a top priority for the Office of Homeland Security Investigations" said Foucart. "Our goal is not only to see justice served, but to use our unique immigration enforcement authorities to protect law-abiding citizens."

Evidence presented during Djokich's trial in May and June, showed that in July 2008, an intermediary approached an ICE informant seeking his help in kidnapping, extorting money from, and potentially murdering a man in the Bahamas. The informant thereafter met with Djokich, and others, as Djokich solicited the informant to commit the kidnaping, extortion, and potential murder of the victim.

The informant introduced an undercover agent to Djokich, and the undercover had several recorded meetings and conversations with Djokich, in which Djokich described his purported claim against the victim, sought to have the undercover kidnap and extort money from him, and, during a final meeting at Boston Logan Airport on October 15, 2008, instructed the undercover that the victim was to be murdered at the conclusion of the kidnapping/extortion.

Evidence at the trial showed that the victim, while tangentially involved in an investment Djokich had made, in fact had neither defrauded Djokich nor was responsible for any losses that Djokich sustained. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Djokich guilty of both conspiracy to commit kidnaping and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. A codefendant, Eginardo Deangelis, was acquitted of both charges.

In addition to sentencing Djokich to 20 years in prison, Chief Judge Wolf also sentenced him to five years of supervised release.