Saturday, February 24, 2024

Three Men Indicted for Murder-for-Hire Plot

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment Thursday against Jagninder Singh Boparai, 46, of Manteca; Ramesh Kumar Birla Jr., 45, of Dublin; and Shaminderjit Singh Sandhu, 49, of Tracy; charging all three with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, and charging Boparai with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, in February 2023, Boparai met with a person he believed to be a hitman at a Starbucks in Manteca. Unbeknownst to Boparai and the other defendants throughout their interactions, the hitman was a confidential informant working for the FBI. Boparai told the supposed hitman that the first job involved the assault of Victim 1, and once he proved his trustworthiness, he would be given another job. The following day, Boparai met the confidential informant again and offered to pay $6,000 for the assault of Victim 1. In March 2023, in the presence of Birla and another individual, Boparai met with the confidential informant, and Boparai gave the confidential informant $1,000 as a down payment for the assault. According to court documents, after more time had passed, the confidential informant showed Boparai a staged photo of Victim 1 laying on the ground covered in bruises, dirt, and blood to indicate the assault had occurred. Boparai said he liked the photo and told the confidential informant that he had two other “jobs,” one of which involved robbing a business, and the other involved making a person “disappear.”

According to court documents, in March 2023, Boparai met with the confidential informant to pay the confidential informant $10,000 as a down payment for the murder of Victim 2. Sandhu provided Victim 2’s address, and Boparai instructed the confidential informant that Victim 2 must disappear without any evidence remaining. Boparai then made two calls to Birla asking for Victim 2’s Facebook profile. Boparai subsequently received a Facebook profile picture of Victim 2, which he showed to the confidential informant. On March 24, 2023, Sandhu and Birla met with the confidential informant in a parking lot in Manteca. Sandhu and Birla claimed that Boparai was out of town, but Boparai was observed by surveillance remaining in a car in the same parking lot. Sandhu and Birla instructed the confidential informant to kill Victim 2 and take Victim 2’s remains to Mexico in a suitcase.

All three defendants were arrested on March 31, 2023, and are currently in federal custody.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Highway Patrol, the Ceres Police Department, the Dublin Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Lathrop Police Department, the Modesto Police Department, the San Joaquin County Probation Office, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, the Stockton Police Department, the Tracy Police Department, the Turlock Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian T. Kinsella is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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