SNOHOMISH — A former drug trafficker from Snohomish nicknamed the “Italian Stallion” was sentenced to 17 years in prison Thursday for trying to hire a hitman to assassinate a witness.
In January 2020, Michael John Scott, 44, was originally sentenced to 6½ years in prison for dealing fentanyl-laced pills and cocaine in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy. But just before getting that sentence, while released on bond, authorities arrested Scott while on his way to a drug deal with an undercover FBI informant in Whatcom County, according to charging papers filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
While in prison, Scott tried to arrange for a hitman to kill the informant and his associate. Authorities caught on to his plan.
Over three years after his original sentencing, the defendant pleaded guilty in April to 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 recommended 20 years in prison and the defense argued for a term of “not less than 120 months.”
In June 2021, Scott agreed to pay a fellow inmate $2,000 if he would help him find a hitman to kill the Whatcom County witness and their associate, reportedly saying he would pay $10,000 each for the murders, court documents say.
The defendant blamed the undercover agent for his new charges, court documents say.
For one month, 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 court documents. These letters spelled out his plans to kill the informant, saying he wanted the deaths to appear to be fentanyl overdoses. He also included the targets’ physical description, where they lived and what cars they drove.
The FBI intercepted the letters and had an agent pose as the hitman under the name “C. Sanchez,” charging papers say. Scott’s friend met with the “hitman” and provided him with a $5,000 cash down payment.
In his journals written in prison, Scott said felt “pressured” by his cellmate to plan the murders to the point of feeling “physically ill,” according to court documents.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan called Scott’s crimes “most serious offenses.”