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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Illinois

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2011

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney

Contact: John G. McKenzie, AUSA
(815) 987-4444

Algonquin Man Arrested on Federal Murder for Hire Charge

ROCKFORD — PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; ANDREW L. TRAVER, Special Agent–In–Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ("ATF"); and RUSSELL LAINE, Chief of the Algonquin Police Department, today made the following announcement:

JASON W. SMIEKEL, 29, of Algonquin, Illinois, was arrested yesterday in Elgin on a murder–for–hire charge. A criminal complaint was filed this morning in federal court in Rockford, charging Smiekel with using an interstate facility, a cell phone, in a murder–forhire scheme. Smiekel appeared before Magistrate Judge Mahoney in Rockford this morning at 10:00 a.m. Magistrate Judge Mahoney ordered that Smiekel be detained without bond until a preliminary examination and bond hearing could be held next Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at 2:30 p.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Smiekel was arrested in the parking lot of a restaurant in Elgin, Illinois after passing $7,000 in cash to an undercover ATF who was posing as a "hitman." The murder, the complaint alleged, was purportedly scheduled to take place that day around 5:30 p.m. Because of the efforts of the ATF and Algonquin Police, the intended victim was never in harm’s way.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives with the assistance of the Algonquin Police Department. The case is being prosecuted in federal court by Assistant United States Attorney John G. McKenzie.