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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Authorities say a Pittsburgh man traveled across state lines, plotting to hire a man to kill his cousin’s wife.
Police arrested 52-year-old Brad Lanese at his home in the 100 block of Aaron Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood Thursday.
“In an age where technology drives a lot of law enforcement investigations, this investigation was just a very solid, conventional law enforcement and detective work,” Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song of the Western District of Pennsylvania said.
Investigators say Lanese, his cousin, who was not identified, and his cousin’s wife, were all involved in a large money-making marijuana grow operation in northern California.
A rift developed between Lanese and the wife. He was given $29,000 dollars and ordered to leave the marijuana farm.
Back in Pittsburgh, court documents say that Lanese quickly spent the $29,000, and he became disgruntled because his profits were gone and his relative and wife were still making lots of money in California without him.
The criminal complaint states he blamed his cousin’s wife for his separation from the operation. Back home, Lanese approached a confidential source with a plan to rob his cousin; the source in turn said he knew someone who could help. That someone was an undercover DEA agent.
Working with the undercover agent, Lanese started developing plans to rob his cousin, then a third man was contacted — his nickname “Deeds” — and he, too, was working undercover.
But, now, instead of robbing the marijuana growing operation, Lanese wanted someone killed.
In recorded conversations, he says at one point, “I’ve rehearsed this in my mind a thousand times.”
He described his relative’s wife as “manipulative” and suggested she be injected with a fatal overdose of marijuana and fentanyl in the marijuana fields. Then her car would be pushed over a cliff – with her inside – into the Pacific ocean.
He said with the wife dead, he would be able to return to the marijuana operation and pay “Deeds” for the murder.
“We had a task force officer and the DEA worked very hard and patiently to let the evidence develop. They followed it across the country,” U.S. Attorney Song said. “Once we were confident that it was a real threat to a person, we knew we had to act, and we had the federal means to do so.”
Lanese is now in custody, he has a detention hearing in Federal Court in Pittsburgh next Tuesday.