Former Cochise County deputy accused in murder-for-hire plot

Posted at 5:44 AM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 13:32:27-05

A former Cochise County deputy has been arrested in connection with a murder-for-hire plot, the Sierra Vista Police Department announced Sunday night.

SWAT members arrested Israel Burkholder Sunday at a convenience store in Sierra Vista.

A spokesperson for the Sierra Vista Police Department says Burkholder was a deputy for 14 years. Burkholder was the subject of an internal affairs investigation and was fired from the department about a year ago, police say. 

Investigators say Burkholder was in the process of meeting with a suspected hitman to discuss killing a man who lives in the area. Detectives had monitored Burkholder physically and electronically and say that information tipped them off to the meeting on Sunday.

Police wouldn't comment on the status of the suspected hitman Sunday night.

A department spokesperson said prosecutors plan to charge Burkholder with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.