A 60-year-old Pakistani national who had been a fugitive since 2015 in the murder-for-hire plot of a Chesterfield County businessman and well-known member of Richmond’s Muslim community has been arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport after arriving in the U.S. from outside the country.
On Monday, the FBI took into custody Chaudhary “The Don” Arshad Mahmood in connection with the Jan. 24, 2015, slaying of Adel M. Elmadany, 60, who was found strangled and suffocated inside his business, 3 Amigos Auto Sales at 108 Turner Road.
The FBI was working with Chesterfield police and had assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Air Marshal Service.
“We received information that he was flying into the United States, and we coordinated with the FBI,” said Chesterfield police Sgt. Kevin Helton, who declined to say from which country Mahmood’s flight originated or where authorities believe he has been living since the killing. “We continuously pursue fugitives and luckily this worked out.”
In 2015, police said they believed Mahmood may have fled to his native Pakistan.
Authorities previously alleged that Mahmood paid two Guatemalan nationals about $3,000 each to kill Elmadany. The two co-defendants, Melvin Leonel Sandoval Vasquez, 25, of Washington, and Narcisco DeJesus Lemus Mendoza, 27, of Manassas, pleaded guilty in September 2016 to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit capital murder. Both were sentenced to 70 years in prison with 32 suspended, giving each 38 years to serve.
At the time of their trial, it was disclosed that both men were immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
Their September 2015 plea agreements require them to testify against Mahmood, whom authorities said planned the murder and was living in Northern Virginia at the time.
After their arrests, Vasquez and Mendoza admitted to police that they posed as customers at Elmadany’s car business and knocked him to the ground, putting a plastic grocery bag over his head and then strangling him with his own shoelace, according to a summary of evidence at their trials. Investigators recovered surveillance video from nearby businesses that showed the defendants in and around Elmadany’s used-car lot on the day of the killings.
Elmadany, who lived in the 7500 block of Ander Court, was found dead by his wife the next day.
Mahmood apparently wanted Elmadany killed because prosecutors said the victim had been asked to intercede in the financial affairs of Mahmood and his wife, Ebtesam, whom Mahmood married in 2014, according to the summary of evidence.
“Ebtesam told police that Mahmood used their marital status to file false tax returns and engage in other illegal financial activities,” Chesterfield prosecutor Barbara Cooke told a judge at the co-defendants’ trial in 2016. “Adel learned of this and allowed Ebtesam, who was only with Mahmood for a couple of months, to move into the 3 Amigos building. Ebtesam told police that Mahmood was capable of hiring someone to kill Adel.”
Early in the case, police said they believed Mahmood was armed and dangerous and that he may have fled to Pakistan.
Vasquez and Mendoza told police that after killing Elmadany, they drove back to Manassas, where they got rid of their clothes and met Mahmood, who paid them $6,000, which they split. In a later interview, Vasquez told investigators that they had received a portion of the “hit” money before the killing, and the balance afterward.
After Mendoza was arrested, he claimed that Mahmood — whom he called “El Señor” — had hired him as a mechanic and had threatened him with a gun and forced him to travel to Richmond to kill Elmadany. He eventually admitted to putting the bag over Elmadany’s head and tying the shoelace around his neck.
Mahmood, who is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit capital murder for hire, is being held without bond in the Chesterfield Jail.