Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

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Jimmy Chagra dead of cancer at age 63


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Beyond the Sun

Jimmy Chagra, indicted on a charge of arranging the murder of a federal judge about to preside over his trial, died of liver and brain cancer this morning.

Jimmy Chagra was 63 years old. He had been battling cancer since November.

He was implicated in the May 1979 assassination of John H. Wood Jr. in San Antonio, Texas. Chagra was arrested in 1978 on charges of trafficking marijuana and was scheduled to appear before Judge Wood.

Chagra supposedly hired Charles Harrelson, father of actor Woody Harrelson, to kill Wood for $250,000.

Chagra beat the conspiracy charge with legal counsel from current Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. The convicted hit man was actor Woody Harrelson's father.

Chagra died in Mesa, Ariz., where he had been placed in a witness protection program under an assumed name.

In December 2003 Chagra was released from federal prison after serving 23 1/2 years on drug charges.

Chagra died with his wife, Lynda, at his side, Sheehan said. The couple had been married for four years.

Author and Las Vegas Sun columnist Jack Sheehan said he met Chagra in June of 2006.

"He was a wild man in his day," Sheehan said, yet he found Chagra "very caring, very charismatic."

Sheehan said he is working on a script about Chagra's life.

Jamiel Alexander Chagra was born Dec. 7, 1944. He became known as one of the biggest drug traffickers operating out of Las Vegas and El Paso.

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