Federal Agents Meet Twice in Battery Park City with Aspiring Contract Killer
An alleged wanna-be button man was busted by the FBI on Wednesday, after two meetings in Battery Park City.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Maine resident Hyunkook Korsiak (pictured), aged 41, came to the FBI’s attention last August, when the Federal Bureau of Prisons intercepted a message in which he reflected on his desire to go into the contract-killing business. This led to an approach by an undercover FBI agent “posing as a member of a transnational criminal organization engaged in money laundering, drug and weapons trafficking and various acts of violence, including murder.”
By December, the undercover agent and Mr. Korsiak were in regular touch via Telegram, which the charging documents describe as “a cross-platform messaging app that offers enhanced privacy and encryption features to its users allowing text and voice messages to self-destruct after review by a recipient.”
This dialog resulted in at least two conferences in Battery Park City, described as “Meeting Location-1.” At the first of these, on January 12, the criminal complaint alleges, “Korsiak told UC-1 [undercover agent 1] that he wanted to work for the Organization and participate in murders-for-hire. UC-1 told Korsiak that UC-1 had a job for him the requirement of which was that ‘this person comes to New York and doesn’t leave breathing.’ Korsiak told UC-1 that ‘you just tell me where to go and what to do and you know I can make that happen.’ Korsiak agreed to murder the intended target (‘Victim-1’) in return for a payment of $50,000 from UC-1.”
On March 2, Mr. Korsiak returned to Battery Park City to meet again with the FBI agent, and two more (also posing as high-level mobsters). According to the FBI’s narrative, Mr. Korsiak turned out to be a very high-maintenance hitman, requesting everything from silencers for three separate guns, to a latex mask (pictured) that would defeat facial recognition software, and even a car from which he could shoot the intended victim on a street in Midtown. (He was partial to “a black or gray SUV or minivan.”) To this list, Mr. Korsiak eventually added requests for “an AR-10 [rifle] with a twenty-inch barrel as a ‘long range option’ for the murder and asked if UC-1 could provide him with the weapon along with .308 Winchester cartridges.”
In a further touch that might have raised doubts among prospective employers about his ability to do such work without attracting undue attention, “Korsiak also asked whether it would be possible for UC-1 to obtain M-84 flashbang grenades—a munition used by the military and law enforcement to deliver loud acoustic and bright optical effects to stun or incapacitate a subject or subjects.” He additionally wanted $5,000 (apart from the $50,000 fee) to cover travel expenses, and asked whether the racketeers could provide him with a New York Police Department uniform, “to evade capture after he committed the murder.”
In a reassuring sign of professionalism, however, Mr. Korsiak promised his putative clients that “he would clean the inside of the car with a pressurized bleach spray to remove any forensic evidence that might be present and that he would be sure not to leave the mask behind because of the potential it may contain DNA evidence.”
All of this gear turned out to be unnecessary. Last Wednesday, FBI agents arranged for one final meeting with Mr. Korsiak (this one in Tarrytown), prior to the actual killing, scheduled for later that day. Instead of handing over grenades, they arrested him. According to charging documents, at the time of his arrest, Mr. Korsiak “was found to be carrying a loaded Sig Sauer 9MM pistol in a black holster, and $25,000 in cash” that FBI agents had given him as a partial, advanced payment for the murder.
During a search of Mr. Korsiak’s car, according to an affidavit filed by the lead FBI investigator on the case, “agents found, among other things: (1) a Palmetto State Armory AR-15 rifle; (2) a Salient Arms AR-15 rifle; (3) a black privately manufactured 9MM pistol [believed to be] a ‘ghost’ gun (i.e., a gun assembled by its user without a serial number); (4) a bullet resistant vest; (5) hundreds of rounds of various caliber ammunition; (6) the latex mask Korsiak was given during the March 2, 2023 meeting with the undercover agents; (6) gun scopes (one with laser sighting capability); and (7) high-capacity magazines.”
Mr. Korsiak has been charged with one count of murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum potential sentence of ten years in prison, and one count of possession of a firearm following a felony conviction (he was found guilty in 2017 of felony theft from a licensed firearms dealer), which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
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