A Dorchester man faces a federal murder-for-hire charge after he allegedly paid a hit man who was really an FBI agent the first $500 installment for killing his estranged wife, who had kicked him out of their home, and her boyfriend.
Mohammed Chowdhury, 46, faced a detention hearing in US District Court in Boston Friday to determine whether he has to stay locked up while awaiting trial or whether bail would be enough to ensure his appearance in court - and the safety of the public and his two alleged targets.
In December, Chowdhury asked a guy he knew to arrange a meeting with a hit man after a man he paid to kill his wife took his money and disappeared, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case. The guy contacted the FBI, which then set up a sting operation to see if it could snare Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi immigrant whose wife had gotten a restraining order against him in 2018, which Roxbury Municipal Court records show he admitted in 2019 he violated.
Over Telegram and then in a meeting at a Dorchester Avenue pizza place - and in Chowdhury's car outside the pizza place - on Dec. 13, Chowdhury initially said he didn't want his wife and her boyfriend dead, just robbed and beaten enough to become paralyzed, like in the leg and back and that they should start with the boyfriend.
"UCE2 [one of the three agents posing as hit men] asked, 'So you want him killed first?' CHOWDHURY responded, 'Not killed, just, you know, just do something like, like you know, beat him up very well so that he cannot, you know, survive or he cannot leave the city or he cannot leave this country you know, like that.' UCE3 then clarified, 'So he cannot survive?' CHOWDHURY responded, 'He cannot survive, or he cannot, like, you know...'. CHOWDHURY then explained he wanted it to look like a robbery because if not, it was going to come back on him and that he was worried about being the suspected perpetrator."
The two sides left with Chowdhury promising to think about it. He then met with one of the supposed hit men on Dec. 20 outside a Dorchester Avenue Mexican place, where, the affidavit states, Chowdhury said he decided he wanted the boyfriend murdered first, followed by his wife, but in a way that would make it look like a robbery. He agreed to give all the details they'd need for the hits, including photos and the address of the Roxbury market where the boyfriend worked.
The undercover agent said making the hits look like robberies gone bad would be no problem, but that each murder would cost $10,000.
That, Chowdhury said, would be a problem, because he lost the money he paid the first hit man and he only makes $12 an hour working at a convenience store.
"UCE2 asked CHOWDHURY how much he could afford, and CHOWDHURY responded, 'I could afford $4,000, you know.' CHOWDHURY then said, 'I am going to pay you after the work is done, you know? Yeah, last time, you know, I pay somebody, and it's gone, you know, so?' "
Chowdhury and the agent then settled on a price of $5,000 per murder, with $1,000 up front and the rest to be paid in installments. On Dec. 26, in a text message, Chowdhury said a friend would lend him the money, but that he could not pay more than $4,000 per murder.
Chowdhury was supposed to hand over the initial deposit at a meeting in a Dorchester parking lot on Jan. 4, but he showed up without the money. Still, the agents agreed to meet him again, even using a bit of Yiddish to make their case that it was time for Chowdhury to fish or cut bait:
"After UCE1 informed CHOWDHURY of how payments would be made, UCE1 and UCE2 reminded CHOWDHURY that they don't leave witnesses because it is a liability for everyone involved in the murder for hire. UCE1 then tells CHOWDHURY, 'So it's either you pay us $500 and there's no coming back from it, he's, he's gone for good, or you go find some other schmuck, man, we're, we're out.' UCE2 added, 'We talked about it, remember?' and CHOWDHURY responded, 'Yeah, yeah.'"
Chowdhury allegedly asked how they'd dispose of the boyfriend's body. One of the agents said that was the easiest part, because Roxbury markets get robbed all the time, so once they were done, Boston Police would simply come in and deal with the body as part of their investigation into a robbery gone bad.
"UCE1 continued, 'The cops are gonna take care of it...Yeah it's gonna look like he got robbed at his [expletive] store...We did our homework, there's robberies that happen all over this [expletive] place...' CHOWDHURY then acknowledges, 'Yeah, my friend is stolen two times in a month, you know, robbery, yeah rob around here, yeah.' "
On Jan. 13, Chowdhury called one of the agents and said he was ready to go through with it and to start with the boyfriend.
Shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Chowdhury brought $500 and met with two of the agents at a Dorchester parking lot.
"During the meeting with CHOWDHURY, he provided UCE2 with the $500.00, the required down payment. CHOWDHURY confirmed to UCE2 that he wanted the job done. CHOWDHURY was then arrested and taken into custody by the FBI. CHOWDHURY was transported to the FBI offices in Chelsea for booking. During a subsequent recorded and Mirandized interview with CHOWDHURY at the FBI offices in Chelsea, he admitted to negotiating a $4,000 price and to providing the money ($500 down payment), the photographs, and the address information so that the UCEs could identify the targets. CHOWDHURY claimed that the payment and information was to 'punish' his wife and her boyfriend but denied that the services solicited were for murder.
Agents turned off the recording device. CHOWDHURY was placed just outside the interview room, in the booking area, with one of the agents and a task force officer, and continued making statements, unprompted by questioning. At one point, in response to CHOWDHURY's statement about being a good person, being mentally stressed, and that his wife had caused him pain and ruined his life, an agent told him, he should just tell the truth. At this point, CHOWDHURY admitted that he knew the $500 was a down payment on the $4,000 he was paying the UCEs to kill Person 1. Agents re-issued Miranda warnings to CHOWDHURY and re-engaged the recording equipment before asking him to repeat what he had said off-tape. CHOWDHURY repeated his admission."