CHESTER COUNTY, PA (WTXF) - Authorities have arrested an alleged heroin dealer and his girlfriend in a murder-for-hire scheme.
29-year-old Christopher Pickard, of State College, Pa., was originally arrested on heroin dealing charges and was incarcerated at Chester County Prison. According to police, Pickard believed another man was ‘ratting’ on him, cooperating with the police. Pickard and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Latrice Harrington of State College, Pa., then arranged for a ‘hitman’ to kill the victim.
The two offered the hitman $2000 in cash, two firearms and an ounce of ‘the dog food,’ which is code for heroin. Police say they told the hitman where the victim lived, provided photos of the victim from Facebook and Snapchat and confirmed the murder of the victim in recorded phone calls.
Harrington had picked up the firearms for Pickard — a sawed-off shotgun and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Harrington delivered the firearms and a $300 down payment to the hitman for the murder. Pickard promised to supply the hitman with heroin after getting out of prison.
Harrington worked with Pickard to funnel communications between Pickard and the hitman. The hitman, however, was an undercover law enforcement officer, and the victim was kept safe at all times.
Pickard and Harrington then confirmed that the hitman had murdered their target. The hitman informed Harrington, “He’s dead… the dude’s gone and he’s not breathing and he’s out of the state many states away.” Harrington replied, “Alright that’s always good news thank you so much for that.” Harrington then related to Pickard, “That things is done, you don’t have to worry about somebody anymore.”
“For a criminal, desperate times call for desperate measures,” said District Attorney Tom Hogan. “Knowing that he had been caught with heroin, and suspecting that somebody was cooperating with the police, defendant Christopher Pickard decided to have somebody killed rather than face justice. He and his co-defendant now will pay the price for this cold-blooded scheme.”
Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Keye Wysocki had similarly damning words.
“This is a clear example of how dangerous drug traffickers can be in the United States. Within days of being arrested and from within prison, the defendant orchestrated a murder-for-hire in an attempt to elude a conviction for a drug arrest,” he said.
Pickard was arrested on drug-related charges on August 3 in Charlestown Township, Chester County. Pickard had 813 baggies of heroin in his car. The passenger from Pickard’s car, who was released, was later determined to be the target of Pickard’s murder plot.
Pickard and Harrington have now been charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, weapons charges, and related offenses.
“This is a clear example of the ‘Stop Snitching’ culture that is pervasive in drug cases and cities like Philadelphia,” District Attorney Hogan added. “Chester County law enforcement is always vigilant, and the criminals should be aware that they only make a bad situation worse for themselves when they try these tactics in Chester County. The Pennsylvania State Police and Chester County Detectives did an outstanding job in this case.”