February 23rd, 2024

Two Canadians charged in U.S. plot to kill Iranian defector

By The Canadian Press on January 29, 2024.

The U.S. Department of Justice says it has charged two Canadians and an Iranian in a murder-for-hire plot targeting two people in Maryland. An exterior sign is photographed outside the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice building in Washington on May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Patrick Semansky

OTTAWA – The U.S. Department of Justice has charged two Canadians and an Iranian in a murder-for-hire plot targeting two people in Maryland.

An indictment unsealed today says Naji Sharifi Zindashti, Damion Patrick John Ryan and Adam Richard Pearson conspired to kill the two unnamed people, one of whom was an Iranian defector.

Federal prosecutors say Zindashti, who lives in Iran, was part of a criminal network directed by Tehran that targets Iranian dissidents and activists.

The allegations, which have not been proven in court, say the plot was developed between December 2020 and March 2021 on an encrypted messaging service called SkyECC.

The indictment says Zindashti agreed to pay US$350,000 for the killings and Ryan hired Pearson, who was living illegally in the U.S. under an assumed name.

The Justice Department says Pearson and Ryan, who is a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, are both in Canadian jails for unrelated offences.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2024.

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