The owner of the Marathon Marina has been federally charged with murder for hire in a plot the U.S. Attorney’s Office says grew out a proposed drug deal.
No homicide actually took place.
Dennis Zecca, who is also a former chief of Coast Guard Station Islamorada, was taken into custody on Friday and remains in the Monroe County Detention Center awaiting arraignment before a federal magistrate in Key West.
According to the arrest affidavit, Drug Enforcement Administration agents were working a drug-trafficking investigation that involved a confidential informant. During the probe, “Zecca planned with” the informant, “who worked for him, to purchase 10 kilograms of cocaine from an unknown supplier.”
On or about Dec. 16, Zecca “solicited” the informant “to kill a businessman who lived in Marathon. Although the proposed victim was not related to the drug-trafficking transaction that Zecca and “the informant were planning, this solicitation arose during their discussions regarding the drug trafficking as another potential task” the informant could do for him.
In exchange for the murder, the informant would be paid either $20,000 or with a kilo of cocaine, whichever he preferred.
On Dec. 17, the affidavit says, Zecca said he would provide the weapon, a 9mm Beretta, “to commit the murder.” And proposed it should be done as the intended victim left a Christmas party.
The day of the killing was to be Dec. 21. That day at the Marathon Marina, the informant ”represented to Zecca that he had carried out the murder and showed Zecca a doctored photograph … which had been edited using a computer program, showing the victim lying in gravel in a pool of blood.“
Zecca was eventually arrested at the marina as he tried to leave to get the informant $5,000 toward the $20,000 cost of the murder.