Joseph Hunter, 48, a former Army sergeant, had been in contact with what he thought was a Colombian drug dealer but who turned out to be an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency, CNN said.
Hunter, aka "Rambo," and a team of three others had traveled to various countries conducting security for what Hunter thought was a cocaine operation. He had agreed and planned to carry out the assassination of a DEA agent and a "snitch," CNN said.
Prosecutors said Hunter's actions were like that of a character in a spy novel.
"The bone-chilling allegations in today's Indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Friday. "The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evil ends."
Timothy Vamvakias, 42, also an Army veteran, was also charged, along with Dennis Gogel, 27, a German national who served in the German armed forces, former Polish counterterrorism expert Slawomir Soboroski, and former German military sniper Michael Filter, the New York Post said.
They face charges of conspiracy to murder a law enforcement agent, conspiracy to kill a person to prevent communications to law enforcement, conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States and other drug and gun-related charges.