Canadian officials have decided to try to extradite former Green Beret Eugene Tafoya to stand trial for the May, 1979, firebombing of a car belonging to a business associate of former CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson.
Tafoya was convicted Dec. 4 of misdemeanor assault and conspiracy in the shooting of a Libyan dissident in Fort Collins, Colo., last year. He is free on $5,000 bond, pending sentencing Jan. 5.
During the Colorado trial, prosecutors accused Tafoya of soliciting work as "a professional hitman" for Wilson. When Tafoya was arrested last April 22, FBI agents discovered a cassette tape in his car. In a transcript of the tape, Tafoya, whose voice was identified by voice prints, discusses with a man identified as another former Green Beret the firebombing of a car belonging to Robert Manina, a former business associate of Wilson who lived in Kitchener, Ontario, at the time.
"I laid the charges," Tafoya says, according to the transcript, "and then I fired that sucker up."
Manina was general manager from 1976 to 1979 of Marsland Engineering, a subsidiary of Leigh Instruments Ltd., an Ottawa firm that won a contract in late 1976 to sell electronic surveillance equipment to the Libyan government. According to a report by Fort Collins police detective Ray Martinez, Manina was contacted by Wilson and "some Libyan associates of his" in early 1977 in an attempt to intervene in the contract. Later, Manina and Wilson "had some differences of opinion," Manina reportedly told Martinez.
About two months later, Manina's 1976 Jaguar was destroyed by a fire in the driveway of his home.