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Plant City, Florida -- Plant City Police say they've arrested a high school teacher for trying to hire a hitman to kill anotherteacher he used to work with.

Detectives say they were contacted by someone out-of-state who told them thatJames Pepe, a social studies teacher at Bloomingdale High School, attempted to hire him to murder Robert Meredith.

Meredith, who is also a social studies teacher, is currently listed as facultyat Strawberry Crest High School.

The witness contacted police, because he said he was concerned that Pepe was serious about going through with it. With the help of the FBI, several tapped telephone calls between him and and the witness were conducted.

Police say inone of the calls, Pepe asked an undercover officer if he would help him find someonewilling to kill Meredith.In another call on September 13, Pepe told the officer "he had an issue he might need taken care of" and he was willing to pay $2,000.

The call was followed by a second conversation in which the officer attempted to arrange a meeting with him. Pepe declined, but said he still wanted Meredith murdered.

Authorities say Meredith and Pepe had worked together as teachers in the Hillsborough County School System. Pepe has been a teacher with Hillsborough County Schools for 28 years.

Pepe, who lives in Tampa, has been charged with Solicitation of First Degree Murder.


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