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Local contractor ordered detained in federal custody in two alleged murder-for-hire plots

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PROVIDENCE – A Providence man has been ordered detained in federal custody in an alleged murder-for-hire plot. It is alleged that Agustin Vinas, 51, attempted to hire a person to kill two men, one a contractor he claimed owed him $8,500 and who threatened to harm his family if he did not stop his repeated requests for payment, and the second an employee of the contractor.

It is alleged in court documents that on April 19, 2021, Vinas had a chance meeting with an acquaintance. Vinas told that person of his unsuccessful attempts to collect money he was owed by a contractor, of the contractor’s threat against his family, and that he wanted to hire someone to kill the contractor and another man. Vinas’s acquaintance told him that he might know of someone interested in the job and that he would be in touch shortly.

The next day, while under surveillance by members of the FBI Rhode Island Safe Streets Task Force, the two met again in a parking lot in Providence. In a recorded conversation, Vinas allegedly repeated that he wanted the contractor and another person killed. Vinas offered to pay $3,000 for the killings and an additional $500 to make the bodies “disappear.” Vinas explained that he would like to have the victims tortured before they are killed.

It is alleged in court documents that two days later Vinas’s acquaintance arranged to meet with Vinas to introduce him to a “hitman.” They arranged to gather in a parking lot in Pawtucket and then follow Vinas to a second Pawtucket location. Once there, they moved to a third location and met in Vinas’s vehicle. During the meeting, Vinas identified the intended targets, and provided the “hitman” with the contractor’s cellphone number, address, and a description of the vehicle the contractor drives. Vinas told the “hitman,” who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, that the contractor was the primary target and that he wanted him killed first. Vinas specified that the second victim was not as important but that he would be an easy person to kill. Vinas offered to pay the undercover law enforcement officer $3,000 to kill both individuals. Vinas agreed to provide a deposit for the killings, and stated, “I’m not dying until this guy is dead.”

On April 26, 2021, Vinas provided the officer with a $100 deposit for the killings with a promise of an additional $300 at their next meeting. At the meeting, Vinas showed the officer two checks made payable to his son totaling $2,700. Vinas said the checks would be cashed and the proceeds provided as payment once the murders occurred. Three days later, Vinas and the undercover officer met again, and Vinas provided the undercover officer an additional $200 in cash. Vinas was asked on several occasions at that meeting if he was certain he wanted the murders committed. He responded, “I am one hundred percent sure,” and offered to sign a contract.

Vinas was arrested by members of the FBI Rhode Island Safe Streets Task Force on Friday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. He was ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.

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