SNOHOMISH — A Snohomish man, previously sentenced for dealing fentanyl, pleaded guilty Monday for attempting to hire a hitman to kill a witness in another drug case.
Michael John Scott, 44, known by his drug contacts as the “Italian Stallion,” was sentenced in January 2020 to 6½ years in prison for dealing fentanyl-laced pills and cocaine. He was released on bond, and a week later, he was arrested on his way to a drug deal in Whatcom County, according to charging papers filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
The person he was completing the deal with was working with law enforcement. Scott was pulled over on I-5 with about 900 fentanyl pills, heroin and cash, according to the charges.
While at the federal detention center in SeaTac awaiting trial on the new drug charges, Scott hired a hitman to kill a witness against him, according to a plea agreement filed in court Monday.
Scott agreed to pay an associate $2,000 if he would help him find a hitman to kill a witness and an associate of that witness, the court papers say. Scott reportedly said he would pay $10,000 each for the murders. He told his associate that he wanted the deaths to appear to be fentanyl overdoses.
In June and July 2021, Scott wrote letters disguised as “legal mail” to the person he thought was the hitman, and to a friend he wanted to handle payment for the crimes, according to the plea agreement.
The FBI was aware of the scheme and had an agent pose as the hitman. Scott’s friend met with the “hitman” and provided him with a down payment.
Scott pleaded guilty Monday to one count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire; conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and tampering with a witness, victim, or informant, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Prosecutors plan to recommend up to 20 years in prison and the defense is set to argue for a term of “not less than 10 years” in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan is scheduled to sentence Scott on July 27.