The Main Stream

Jul 11, 2012 10:18 PM

Inmate charged in Arpaio assassination plot

PHOENIX (AP) - One of three maximum security inmates arrested Wednesday for plotting to kill an inmate also hatched a plan to assassinate Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even though he was not capable of carrying out the attack, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

Detectives arrested Samuel Matta on charges that he and two other inmates from the Sheriff's 4th Avenue Jail conspired to kill another inmate. He already was being held in the state prison in Florence, where he has been serving a sentence for auto theft and running from police.

According to investigators, detectives were tipped off that Matta, 29, was planning to publicly assassinate Arpaio using a high-powered rifle.

But authorities said Matta, whom deputies labeled a documented gang member, didn't have $1,800 for bond and could not carry out his plan. Matta has not been charged in a plot to assassinate Arpaio.

Authorities said Matta believed that Arpaio was personally responsible for the deportation of some of his family members to Mexico from their home in El Mirage.

The investigation into the Arpaio murder plot then led authorities to the alleged plan to kill another inmate. Audio surveillance showed the men planning to kill a rival gang member, authorities said.

It was unclear if Matta had an attorney.

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