ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man appeared in federal court Monday and admitted trying to have a man who owed him more than $100,000 killed.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Kevin Cunningham, 36, pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire charge in front of U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig. He appeared before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey later that day to plead guilty to conspiring to distribute fentanyl.

Cunningham admitted to approaching others in the drug-trafficking ring to arrange the victim’s murder. A member of the organization connected a person who was secretly working with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to a person working with the drug ring.

That person promised $5,000 to both the confidential source and another individual for the murder and gave them Cunningham’s contact info.

On Oct. 13, 2021, the source and the other person met with Cunningham, who said he wanted them to pick up the debtor, get as much money as they could from him, and kill him.

Cunningham later texted a picture of the target and his address to the source and provided them with $600 in expense money and four firearms.

Cunningham and a co-defendant were arrested after the guns were handed over for the killing.

According to his plea agreement, Cunningham agreed to forfeit his guns: two .45-caliber pistols, a 12-gauge shotgun, and an AR-15 style pistol with a 50-round drum magazine.

Cunningham is scheduled to be sentenced in November.