Former Oklahoma governor candidate indicted in murder-for-hire plot

A former independent candidate for Oklahoma governor was indicted for allegedly trying to hire two people to kill a Florida woman, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced on Friday.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, 55, who is also known as “Joe Exotic,” was charged by a federal grand jury this week on two counts of hiring a person to commit murder.

Maldonado-Passage allegedly gave an unnamed person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to South Carolina and then to Florida to carry out the murder of “Jane Doe” in November 2017, according to a DOJ statement.

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Jane Doe was not physically harmed.

The second person Maldonado-Passage allegedly asked to kill the woman put him in contact with an undercover FBI agent.

He was arrested in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Maldonado-Passage was indicted on two counts of hiring a person to commit murder on Wednesday in a filing that was unsealed by the DOJ on Friday.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced with up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each count. He could also face three years of supervised release.

Maldonado-Passage is a zookeeper in Oklahoma at an exotic animal park and was a former gubernatorial candidate for the Libertarian Party.

The Associated Press reported that he finished third in a three-way Libertarian primary in June. He had been censured by the party for some of his campaign tactics.

He was also a 2016 write-in candidate during the presidential election.