Fallbrook

A Fallbrook cactus grower pleaded guilty Monday to soliciting an undercover FBI agent to commit a murder for him and offering him $10,000 to do it.

Ethan Johnson, 57, who operates Johnson's Cactus Gardens with his father, could receive a five-year federal prison term when he is sentenced Sept. 15.

Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury June 18 on charges that he attempted to have his brother and sister-in-law killed. Johnson later decided to have his business partner killed instead, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Charles Gorder Jr.

The hit man was promised a fee of $10,000 in cash and $1,000 worth of cactus products a week for life. Johnson was arrested after he asked an undercover FBI agent to commit the crime.

Johnson could also receive a $250,000 fine.

The specific charge Johnson pleaded guilty to was using an interstate telephone to commit a murder for hire. Because he made calls to Washington state in making arrangements for the hit man, the case is in federal jurisdiction.

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