Do you think someone should be charged with a worse crime for hiring a hitman to kill a minor than for an adult?

A man in New Jersey is now facing federal charges in connection with an alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting a 13-year-old girl.

This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey announced that 57-year-old Armando Conceicao has been accused of making contact with an unnamed individual, at which point he’s said to have provided an address and a photo of the minor, who was based in Texas at the time. A “quantity of cash” was also allegedly provided from Conceicao at this point, with the stated intention of having the individual make the trip to Texas to survey the target’s home.

In the indictment, an alleged Nov. 2021 meeting involving Conceicao and an unnamed individual in New Jersey is detailed, with the would-be victim described as being “thirteen years old.”

The first count against Conceicao is for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, while the second is for murder-for-hire. According to online documents filed in connection with the case, Conceicao is alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally” conspired with others in connection with an effort to have a murder committed for money. The intention of this effort, prosecutors said, “was to pay a purported hitman to kill a minor child.” 

Notably, the indictment also includes excerpts of an alleged conversation during which the hitman in question is described as being “cheap” and charging “fifteen bucks, ten bucks, problem solved.”

What remains unclear, however, is a motive for this alleged (and ultimately foiled) plot. It’s also not clear, at least from currently available information, how the suspect knew the target of the alleged plot. Per regional New Jersey outlet News 12, the target of the alleged plot is now safe.

In a Department of Justice-shared press release on Tuesday, it was noted that the murder-for-hire charge alone carries with it the potential for a prison sentence of up to a decade behind bars. Additionally, a fine of $250,000 can be imposed. The FBI was involved in the investigation that resulted in this week’s announcement of charges.