BSO: Tactical weapons dealer plotted to kill wife, relatives
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a Dania Beach tactical weapons and gear dealer, accused of a number of crimes, including allegedly plotting to murder his wife and some of her family members.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jason Simione appeared in bond court Tuesday morning. He was charged with three counts of attempted solicitation to commit murder, threatening to place an explosive device and child abuse.
Simione is the business owner of Bulldog Tactical Equipment in Fort Lauderdale, a leading tactical supply company to the U.S. government and military.
Following Simione's arrest, a BSO SWAT team conducted a search of his Dania Beach home on Monday and found an arsenal of 68 rifles, 10 guns, and a .50 caliber sniper rifle, as well as nearly 70,000 rounds of ammunition. Detectives also found the components of a pipe bomb, although, according to officials, they were not assembled.
Detectives said every single item found in Simione's residence was legally owned. Simione's business deputy said his colleague had another three million rounds stockpiled.
"I think he has the place set up to bomb," said a woman who asked not to be identified.
According to the arrest affidavit, Simione's wife, who is divorcing the suspect, contacted BSO to report him. She told detectives he had been showing signs of paranoid behavior and violent outbursts. Court records revealed she asked for a restraining order back in February. She said her husband extremely violent and mentally unstable.
Employees said Simione threw his 9-month-old child onto a table at his office on Aug. 9, causing minor injuries to the baby. "I watched him on video," said David Bogenschutz, Simione's attorney. "It was clear to me that he was reacting non-verbally towards that allegation."
Bogenshutz said his client's side will come out during the trail, but he did address these allegations of child abuse. "I think there's one thing that I'm sure he would like to have very specifically and unequivocally said, and that is that there is no chance that this man would ever hurt his child or ever conceive of hurting this child."
An employee at Simione's company also told his wife that he sought his help to plot her murder. The employee claimed he refused. According to the affidavit, an employee said, "Jason Simione also said he did not care if his wife was raped by the hit man."
Other employees said Simione threatened to kill President Obama on several occasions. Employees told authorities he "repeatedly said the President of the United States should be murdered because he's an [expletive]."
"Violent outbursts, delusional-type behavior, even abusing illegal steroids," read Judge John Hurley in bond court Tuesday morning as he addressed Simione's charges.
According to the arrest affidavit, it claims Simione offer to pay $150,000 in cash to a gang member from a foreign country to murder his wife, her mother and his child. "It says you approached one of your employees from El Salvador, requesting his help to find someone who can kill your wife, her mother, her brother and your own child," said Hurley. "You offered $150,000 for these deaths to occur."
Simione's coworkers claimed their boss had one of them help set up the interior of his home for an assault, in case police came after him or his child. "The walls were refortified, the windows were barred," said BSO Detective Ricky Libman. "He had a room fortified as a last-stand room," "In the back of the room, there was a silhouette of an average-sized person that would be on the other side of the door with x [marks] where to shoot at, to make sure to hit a vital organ."
A male neighbor who did not want to be identified said he is not surprised by Simione's arrest. "It's been going on for the last couple of years," he said. "He's very macho, intimidating and obnoxious."
Judge Hurley gave Simione a bond amount of $1 million per count, for a total of $5 million due to the net worth of his business being between $2 and $9 million. While he's in jail, his phone privileges will be restricted to only his attorney.
If Simione posts bond, he will have to stay within the confines of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. He has been ordered to stay 500 feet away from his business and to refrain from contacting his family or coworkers. His passport has been suspended, and he will have to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
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