Feds used recorded jail calls, cell phone data to bust pair in Michigan murder-for-hire investigation

FLINT, MI – Special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) used recorded jail calls, business records, and cell phone data in their investigation into an alleged murder-for-hire scheme in Flint that was ultimately unsuccessful unsuccessful.

The investigation led to the arrests of Julius K. Jordan and Reginald L. Hunter, both of whom are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

A third person, referred to in the federal indictment that was sworn out on April 11 and unsealed on Friday, April 15, as “Person-1″ has not been named. He is described as a Maryland resident who previously lived in Flint.

“I have probable cause to believe that sometime beginning on or about February 6, 2022, and continuing until on or about February 15, 2022, in the Eastern District of Michigan and elsewhere, Julius K. Jordan and Reginald L. Hunter, conspired with each other, and with others known and unknown to the government, to commit murder-for-hire,” Special Agent Dustin Hurt of the ATF wrote in his federal affidavit.

The plan

According to the federal indictment naming Jordan and Hunter as suspects in the case, federal authorities claim Person-1 agreed to pay Jordan and Hunter to travel to Flint between Feb. 6-15 and kill the man he believed had killed Dennis Denard Thomas on Feb. 6.

Thomas, according to the affidavit, was an associate of Person-1 and was called his “little brother.”

After Thomas’ death, text messages alleged to have been exchanged between Person-1 and Jordan and Hunter break down an apparent plan for the three men to travel to Michigan and find and kill the person they suspected of shooting and killing Thomas.

At Feb. 7 text from Hunter to Person-1 asked about renting a vehicle for two weeks, according to the affidavit. Hunter then sent Person-1 a screenshot of the Enterprise car rental website for a full-size Chevrolet Malibu, which was to be picked up from an Enterprise location in Mobile, Alabama.

Person-1 on Feb. 11 sent $1,000 to Hunter, who then sent $500 to Jordan to rent the Malibu. Jordan told Hunter that same day he planned to buy gloves and that he had a wig, and that Hunter should buy a wig as well.

Hunter kept Person-1 learned of their estimated arrival time while they drove to Michigan. Just before 11 pm on Feb. 12, Hunter told Person-1 that they had arrived.

Hunter feels Person-1 the location of a hotel in the Flint area on Feb. 13. Person-1 asked Hunter if he had received the money, but Hunter said “no,” according to the affidavit.

“Can u send us half of wat u tryna pay us cuzz we ain’t really bring no bread up here bro,” Hunter told Person-1 in a text outlined in the affidavit.

On or about Feb. 13, Person-1 rented a white Ford 4×4 SD crew cab pickup truck from an Enterprise car rental location near the Detroit Metro Airport.

That vehicle was seen the next day being followed by the Malibu rented by Jordan near the intersection of Pierson Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Flint.

The indictment shows that, on the next day, Hunter texted an associate saying he had to put his phone down because “s***” was about to get “real” and that he and Jordan were “looking for (people).”

Michigan State Police traffic stop

Around 10:30 pm on Feb. 15, Michigan State Police troopers pulled over the Malibu while Jordan was driving, and Hunter was in the front passenger seat.

Police said they noticed a FN Herstal, Model PS90 semi-automatic rifle at Hunter’s feet and a .223 caliber magazine protruding from under the driver’s seat.

Both men were asked to exit the vehicle, and the troopers found a Talon Armament, Model TAC-GAR15 semi-automatic rifle with a collapsible stock.

The FN rifle was loaded with 44 rounds of ammunition and an additional round in the chamber, the indictment says. The Talon rifle was loaded with 39 rounds and an additional round in the chamber.

Through their investigation, authorities said in the affidavit they were able to ascertain that the short barrel rifle Jordan had been purchased on Jan. 4, 2021, at Arimus Tactical in Halethorpe, Maryland – 16 miles away from Person-1′s address.

The FN Herstal rifle Hunter had been purchased in August 2019 in Michigan. The dealer information, according to the affidavit, was Michigan Police Equipment in Charlotte.

Interviews with people who had previously purchased and sold the gun suggested it was most recently sold to a known associate of Person-1 in early 2021.

While police had the Malibu pulled over, the unnamed person drove by and tried to place two Facetime calls to Hunter.

The two men were arrested on local firearms charges and taken to Flint’s city lock-up before being lodged in the Genesee County Jail. They were released on Feb. 18 pending further investigation. But while in jail, the duo made several compromising phone calls, outlined in the agents’ affidavit.

Recorded jail calls

Prior to being transferred to the Genesee County Jail, Hunter called a person referred to as “Person-2″ in the affidavit.

Early in the call, Hunter asked Person-2 to contact Person-1 on Instagram. Nearly eight minutes into the call, Hunter told Person-2 that Person-1 was in a vehicle in front of Hunter and Jordan when they were pulled over, and said they needed to be paid.

Hunter called Person-2 from the Genesee County Jail on Feb. 16, asking if Person-2 had spoken to Person-1. The unknown man said Person-1 was going to pay to get Hunter and Jordan a lawyer.

“All I know is he better still give your a** some mother******* money, too,” Person-2 said, according to the affidavit. “I know your a** didn’t come up there and go through all of that for nothing.”

Hunter described to Person-2 that Person-1 did a U-turn and drove past her and Jordan while they were being pulled over, adding that Person-1 as looking “scared as f***” when they were stopped.

Person-2 said he believed Person-1 should still pay the two men $5,000 or $2,500 for their troubles.

A funeral was held for Thomas on Feb. 18, the day Hunter and Jordan were released from jail. Person-1 paid for all funeral costs and attended visitations, but left prior to the funeral, the affidavit states.

Jordan on March 5 received a recorded jail call from an associate referred to as “Person-3″ in the affidavit who is currently incarcerated in Alabama. Jordan and Hunter spoke with Person-3 about traveling to Michigan at the direction of Person-1.

“Man you know the little mission, man,” Jordan allegedly said in the call. He told Person-3 that “lil brother died or some s***” and that Person-1 needed someone “to get down there.”

Both men are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, April 20, for a detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Curtis Ivy, Jr.

The hearing will determine whether they will remain in custody during the course of their court proceedings.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

Flint man takes plea in 2020 armed robbery case on city’s west side

Flint community offers list of demands after allegations of excessive force by township police, sheriff’s deputy

Jury returns guilty verdict against man in 2019 Flint triple homicide

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