PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 47-year-old man is facing federal charges after a murder-for-hire plot was stopped by authorities in Philadelphia last week. Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier announced Darnell Jackson, also known as “Major Change,” of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint on federal charges of murder-for-hire and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
“It is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that law enforcement thwarted multiple alleged attempted murders by the defendant last week,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “But there are hundered of families in this city for whom this news means very little, because their loved ones were already gunned down this year. I want to thank the dedicated men and women of the FBI and Philadelphia Police Department who were responsible for taking Jackson off the streets, and I want to assure the public that we will continue to do all we can to fight the surge of violence plaguing our city.”READ MORE: Man Shot At Least 8 Times In Strawberry Mansion Left In Critical Condition, Police Say
Court documents state the defendant allegedly orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot that stemmed from an ongoing state drug trafficking investigation. Officials say Jackson communicated with an individual via cell phone calls and text messages in an effort to arrange the killing of a different individual, the intended victim, beginning on July 19 and the days immediately following.
Jackson reportedly sent a photo of the intended victim and said he was willing to pay $5,000 to someone to commit the murder.
He also allegedly mentioned to the individual he was interested in locating the close friends of the intended victim, so they could also be harmed.
When the individual reported to the defendant that he had located the intended victim, they allegedly agreed the killing would occur on Wednesday, July 21 in the evening.
On July 21, the individual called Jackson to report that the intended victim had been killed, but that information was false. When the defendant reportedly replied he was on his way to meet the individual in order to pay him for his services, he was stopped by law enforcement in Southwest Philadelphia.
Officials say they found a Glock-style personally manufactured firearm, or “ghost gun,” loaded with 16 live rounds of ammunition and he did not have anywhere near the amount of $5,000 with him.
Jackson was immediately arrested and taken into custody.READ MORE: Firefighters Quickly Get Fire Under Control In West Philadelphia
“Every day, members of law enforcement agencies at all levels work tirelessly to prevent violent events from occurring in our city,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “The PPD and our partner agencies recognize the gravity of Philadelphia’s plight. People who commit serious crimes must face serious consequences, and arrests like the one announced today are the very reason why this joint initiative was created. I want to thank the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for pledging their support to this effort and ultimately contributing to the safety and well-being of those who live, work, and visit this beautiful city.”
.@USAttyWilliams, @FBIPhiladelphia & @PhillyPolice will announce an arrest on federal charges in a murder-for-hire plot today at 3pm. Charges stem from collaborative investigation under the #AllHandsOnDeck initiative which was launched in April to combat violent crime in Philly.
— U.S. Attorney EDPA (@USAO_EDPA) July 26, 2021
The charges stem from a collaborative investigation under the All Hands on Deck initiative, which was launched in April to combat violent crime in Philadelphia.
“When our Safe Streets Gang Task Force received information on an alleged murder for hire last week, we immediately determined this was truly a life-threatening situation,” said James E. Christie, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Agents and task force officers worked quickly, taking all necessary steps to disrupt this deadly plot. As a result, the intended victim is safe, the alleged orchestrator is behind bars, and a ghost gun is off the street. We refuse to cede this city to criminals who think solving a problem means pulling a trigger, who hold blocks and entire neighborhoods hostage to their violence. The ‘All Hands on Deck’ initiative continues to produce results and you’ll be seeing more of those in the weeks and months to come.”
He made his initial appearance in federal court on Friday, July 23, but will appear before a judge for a detention hearing on Tuesday, August 3.
If he is convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, 10 years for each charge.MORE NEWS: Police: Man In Critical Condition In Germantown Double Shooting
Tune in to CBS3 at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. for the latest on this investigation.