A St. Joseph man, a former fugitive, became the focus of a federal complaint filed this week, accusing him of attempting to kill a federal informant in August.

Justin Hill, 19, was charged with attempt to kill another person with intent to retaliate for providing information to a law enforcement officer, stated the federal complaint filed by a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions (ATF).

The affidavit detailed accusations that arose through a joint investigation after troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol attempted to stop a vehicle carrying Mr. Hill and another person.

“Agents had received information that Hill was bringing powder cocaine from Kansas City, Kan., to St. Joseph and relayed the information to (Highway Patrol),” the federal complaint stated. “Before being stopped, Hill briefly eluded officers and allegedly tossed out the powder cocaine, which was not located at this time.”

After the traffic stop, Mr. Hill believed that a confidential informant told federal agents and other officers about the suspected drug, authorities said. He allegedly traveled back to the scene of the traffic stop several times to try to locate the cocaine.

Mr. Hill was seen by Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies as he searched, but told authorities he was searching for a lost ring. Officers also searched the area for the drugs, to no avail.

Shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, Mr. Hill was allegedly involved in a “shots fired” incident in the 700 block of South 21st Street, near the intersection of 21st and Messanie streets. Cmdr. Janice Rothganger said officers did not locate any victims or suspects, but did locate evidence of a motor vehicle accident at the scene.

“It appeared that a vehicle struck something, then fled,” Ms. Rothganger said.

Officers recovered parts from a Chevrolet Suburban at the scene before anonymous tips led to identifying Mr. Hill as the shooter, the complaint stated. The informant notified ATF agents that Mr. Hill shot at him near 21st and Messanie streets.

“The CI (confidential informant) further stated that Hill was in a tan Suburban, and that Hill had rammed the vehicle the CI was in as CI tried to leave the area because Hill had a gun,” the complaint stated.

Approximately six shots were fired at the informant, sources said.

A source told police he spoke to Mr. Hill, who said he was leaving St. Joseph “until things cooled down.” On Sept. 4, authorities learned that the informant spoke with “Pablo,” a leader of the Latin Kings street gang in St. Joseph, and that Mr. Hill attempted to hire a gang member to murder the informant.

Police located Mr. Hill during a traffic stop in the 1100 block of Maple Leaf Parkway last Saturday and arrested him without incident.

Mr. Hill remains in federal custody without bond. No court date has been set, pending a federal grand jury indictment.

Kristin Hoppa can be reached

at kristin.hoppa@newspressnow.com.

Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHoppa.

(4) comments


"On Sept. 4, authorities learned that the informant spoke with “Pablo,” a leader of the Latin Kings street gang in St. Joseph, and that Mr. Hill attempted to hire a gang member to murder the informant."
Wait a minute. Hasn't the SJPD been telling us that St Joseph didn't have a gang problem?


You've got several street gangs in St. Joe, they are just not a problem, yet. Most, at this point are "want to be's".


I'd say they are a problem now and have been for quite some time. The cops don't like to admit that several of the killings in midtown have been gang related.

Big Daddy
Big Daddy

That was the former "Gang Intelligence Officer" Matt Rock but since he retired I guess gangs decided to spring up now.

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