Toronto murder victim dodged earlier assassin's bullet with cocaine bribe
Police wiretaps reveal bounty hunter was paid to fake victim's death in 2013
In a plot twist worthy of a Hollywood crime thriller, the victim of a brazen execution in Toronto this summer escaped an earlier hit attempt by bribing a bounty hunter to fake the target's death.
The revelation came from a police wiretap of a phone conversation between the victim, Farogh Sadat, and another man on Jan. 15, 2015, which CBC learned about after recently obtaining a copy of a 2017 court decision about Sadat's bail conditions.
At the time of the wiretapped call, police were investigating the brutal kidnapping of a drug runner, allegedly by Sadat and others, in September 2014.
In the call, Sadat boasted that he bribed his would-be assassin with half a million dollars' worth of cocaine to stage Sadat's death in the Caribbean. Sadat said he then short-changed the bounty hunter by only giving him half of the promised amount.
Sadat, 37, was shot and killed in broad daylight on June 23, 2020, while he was sitting in his SUV with California licence plates at 1346 St. Clair Ave. W., in Toronto's Corso Italia neighbourhood.
It was the third known assassination attempt on his life.
Two previous murder attempts
In the 2017 judgment dismissing Sadat's bail application on the kidnapping allegations, Superior Court Justice Leonard Richetti noted that Sadat had bad blood with Mexican drug dealers in the Greater Toronto Area.
It started in 2013, when Sadat orchestrated a home invasion robbery. Sadat sent his henchmen to rob a suspected drug runner, H.G. (CBC is withholding his identity, as his life is likely at risk.) They grabbed $40,000 in cash and $20,000 worth of jewelry, and H.G. also gave them the keys and location of a stash house, where they stole several kilograms of low-quality cocaine.
That home invasion robbery was never reported to police.
A year later, on Sept. 6, 2014, Sadat and others allegedly kidnapped H.G., beat him and held him hostage for 12 hours, seeking information about another stash house.
After that, the drug dealers put a bounty on Sadat's head, wrote Richetti.
On Sept. 23, 2014, shooters mistook Sadat's brother-in-law Ghorzang Zazai for Sadat, wounding Zazai and killing a friend, Gul Alakoozi, outside Sadat's parents' home in York region, north of Toronto.
At the time, Sadat was living with his parents, who were his sureties for guns and drug possession charges in a Toronto hotel room in June 2014.
'We can't even fight these guys'
The wiretapped 2015 call was a conversation with Alakoozi's father. In it, Sadat told him he "knows" his son's killers, but York Regional Police say no one has been charged for the shooting and the investigation is ongoing.
Sadat admitted on the call that he had sold up to 20 pounds of cocaine and "bought a couple of houses" with the profits of his criminal activity, but that he wasn't wealthy enough to mount a battle against the heavily armed drug lords.
"We can't even fight these guys, because I don't have the money like these guys," he said. Sadat also said he had a "toy" – meaning a handgun – because he didn't trust anyone at the time.
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Sadat also disclosed his first assassination escape, in 2013.
He said that a bounty hunter kidnapped him in the Dominican Republic, but that he bribed his would-be killer by offering him double the price of the hit — "10 bricks" (kilograms) of cocaine, worth $525,000.
The bounty hunter then staged Sadat's death by covering his "corpse" in fake blood as it lay in a Dominican ditch and photographing the "hit."
But Sadat said he only gave him "half the bricks."
Sadat went into hiding on the West Coast and later tried to resolve the dispute with the drug barons.
'I hit a home run'
The drug dealers eventually discovered Sadat was still alive after he and others were busted and charged with possessing guns, drugs, a bulletproof vest and silencer after a maid spotted a man with a firearm inside a Toronto hotel room in June 2014.
Police found evidence on a laptop in the hotel room that Sadat and his partners had placed a tracking device on H.G.'s car, as well as details of a plot to pose as cops, abduct H.G. and force him to surrender the keys and location of a stash house.
Sadat's charges were stayed, however, after another man pleaded guilty. "I hit a home run," said Sadat on the wiretap.
Before H.G. was abducted in September 2014, a Peel Regional Police sergeant warned H.G. his life was in jeopardy and left her business card with him.
When the kidnappers took H.G. hostage that September, they discovered the officer's business card in his personal effects. Fearing H.G. might be under surveillance, the captors let him go after he agreed to give them some cash and the name of another potential kidnapping victim. He provided them $5,000 cash but not another name.
Two days later, H.G. went to Peel Regional Police.
'Potential for further violence'
In a 2017 judgment dismissing Sadat's bail application on the kidnapping allegations, Justice Richetti wrote, "Any informed member of the public would be shocked that Mr. Sadat would be released into the public."
"Given the matters described by Sadat in the wiretaps involving shootings, bounty, faking deaths, retaliation and other criminal activity, the potential for further violence looms large," stated Richetti.
The judge quoted a "chilling" conversation between Sadat's wife and a co-accused's brother, in which Sadat's wife said, "If [the kidnapping victim] doesn't drop the charges, then they want to get rid of everyone involved permanently."
The kidnapping charges against Sadat were stayed in 2018 after Sadat's lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, undermined H.G.'s credibility during cross-examination at the preliminary hearing.
Toronto police continue to investigate Sadat's killing.