Three U.S. Army veterans, including a retired U.S. Army Ranger, await extradition to the Netherlands on charges alleging they were hired for the military-style assassination of a German businessman.
The Hartford Courant reported former Army Ranger Jacob Mazeika, 38, faces charges in connection to the 2019 murder of businessman Thomas Schwarz. Former soldiers Justin Causey and William Lyle Johnson are also awaiting extradition, at the request of Dutch authorities, in connection with the murder case.
Dutch authorities allege Swiss businessman Lukas Fecker was the financier behind the murder plot. Authorities believe Fecker had a business dispute with Schwarz and that Fecker hired Causey ostensibly to find the German businessman and collect a debt. According to Dutch authorities, Fecker claimed Schwarz owed him up to 3 million euros.
In their arguments in his extradition case, prosecutors said, “Mazeika was integral to the planning and execution of the operation, not a minimal participant.”
According to the Daily Mail, Mazeika faces 19 charges in the Netherlands including murder, aggravated manslaughter and extortion resulting in death.
The Daily Mail reported Causey’s extradition was granted by a court on September 7 and Johnson’s extradition was granted on September 15. On September 20, Mazeika also signed an affidavit of consent to being extradited. It remains unclear when the extraditions will go through.
Upon being hired by Fecker, Causey is alleged to have recruited former military colleagues for the task, including Mazeikas and Johnson. After initial efforts to collect 462,000 euros from Schwarz reportedly failed, authorities say Fecker lashed out at Causey.
According to alleged communications between Causey and Fecker, the Swiss businessman was under pressure to collect on the debt and told Causey, “I lose the company next Thursday, and have no right to claim from Schwarz thereafter.” Fecker’s frustration appears to have also been fueled by his belief that Schwarz should have been an easy mark. In one alleged communication, Fecker said Schwarz was “a milksop, did not employ bodyguards, and should have been an easy target.”
Fecker allegedly ordered Causey to collect on the debt within a matter of days from that conversation. Records allege a series of “encrypted” communications between Causey, Mazeika and Johnson ensued.
According to the alleged communications, Causey discussed using a “brachial stun” — a type of blow to the side of a victim’s neck that can causes unconsciousness by shock to the carotid artery, jugular vein, and Vagus nerve — to silently take down Schwarz. In that same exchange, Mazeika asked “if he goes down on the hit how heavy is he.”
Mazeika also purportedly noted that the ground-level entrance at Schwarz’s residence, located near the border between Holland and Germany, would make it “easier to bum rush” him if he opened the door and “shove him back in fast.” Mazeika purportedly discussed faking a delivery at Schwarz’s home to facilitate such an effort to rush the businessman.
According to court filings in the extradition case, closed-circuit television recordings and telephone tracking show Mazeika, Johnson and Causey surveilled Schwarz’s home. The three Americans reportedly rented a Volkswagen Polo, and were located outside Schwarz’s home at 6:45 a.m. on the day he died.
Neighbors later told Dutch investigators they heard slamming doors, a scream, banging and dragging sounds in Schwarz’s residence at around 7 a.m. Those witnesses described seeing someone jump into a Volkswagen and race away.
Causey and Mazeika’s phone records show they crossed over from Holland to Germany where Causey returned the rented car without its floor mats. Investigators later discovered Schwarz’s blood in the car’s interior.
A day later, Causey texted his girlfriend that he was wiping all contents from his telephone because he had misgivings about “this last job.” He texted her, “I don’t feel good about this last job, hon. It was sloppy. I hope we didn’t do something that is going to catch up to me. Last time I’ll mention it.”
After his arrest in April, Johnson spoke to authorities and said he watched Causey and Mazeika approached Schwarz’s house on foot while he sat in the Volkswagen. Johnson said Causey and Mazeika returned 20 minutes later, covered in blood and heard Mazeika say he thought they killed someone.
In another reported text between Causey and his girlfriend, Causey said, “Flawless execution of the plan . . . Jacob is good as (expletive deleted) gold. I wish Will didn’t come attached. He’s a good guy, but . . . you know.”