ST. PETE BEACH — A 54-year-old man made a $160 down payment to hire a hitman to kill his brother, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
But the hitman was actually an undercover detective. Gary Hudge was arrested Thursday on a charge of solicitation to commit murder, deputies say.
Hudge met the detective amid an undercover drug investigation, said sheriff’s Deputy Travis Sibley, a spokesman for the agency. During a Nov. 7 conversation, he said he was interested in hiring the detective to kill his brother, 57-year-old Thomas Hudge, because the two were at odds over financial matters.
Over several meetings around St. Pete Beach, Gary Hudge suggested how and where the murder should happen. He provided multiple Michigan addresses for his brother and offered to pay for a bus ticket, according to his arrest report.
He also offered the detective a .25-caliber handgun and money, according to the report, “to show his sincerity at having his brother murdered,” according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
In their last meeting on Thursday, deputies said Gary Hudge paid an initial fee of $160 cash to the hitman. Detectives then took him into custody. The other terms of the deal were not released by the Sheriff’s Office.
Hudge, who court records list as transient in the Treasure Island area, also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and sale of a controlled substance. He’s accused of selling an undercover detective two doses of the painkiller Suboxone, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
He was being held Friday in the Pinellas County jail in lieu of $62,000 bail.