Federal jury returns guilty verdict in Meriden murder for hire

Federal jury returns guilty verdict in Meriden murder for hire



HARTFORD — A man from Puerto Rico was found guilty of orchestrating the murder of a Meriden man in 2014 over a drug debt.

Hector Cardona-Diaz was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire resulting in death and one count of murder for hire by interstate travel resulting in death.

Each charge carries a mandatory term of life imprisonment.

Cardona-Diaz was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, which carries a mandatory 10 year sentence.

A sentencing date has not been set. The trial began on Sept. 11 and concluded Tuesday.

On Dec. 30, 2014, Jesus Silva, 24, of Meriden was killed by a gunshot to the head as he sat in his car on Yeaton Street in New Britain.

An investigation revealed that Cardona-Diaz was a large-scale narcotics trafficker who supplied Silva and others in Hartford and Springfield with cocaine that he concealed in ceramic moldings and shipped in packages using the U.S. Mail, said Tom Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut.

Silva and others then mailed cash proceeds from the sale of cocaine back to Cardona-Diaz.

Cardona-Diaz believed that Silva had “failed to provide him with a large amount of cash generated from the drug trafficking enterprise and planned his murder,” Carson said.

Local police reports indicated Silva sent one package containing money to a relative instead of the drug organization.

The investigation revealed that Cardona-Diaz hired Jesus Sierra, of Springfield, Mass, to murder Silva with a promise to pay him $5,000 and supply him with future shipments of cocaine, Carson said.

Sierra then got a firearm from Joel Jaquez, of Springfield, and promised to pay Jaquez approximately half of the $5,000.

On Dec. 30, 2014, Sierra arranged to meet Silva in Meriden, saying he wanted to purchase a car from him, Carson said.

Sierra and Silva drove together to New Britain under the ruse that Sierra needed a mechanic in New Britain to examine the car, Carson said.

Jaquez followed Sierra and Silva in a separate car. In New Britain, Sierra shot and killed Silva.

In January 2017, Sierra and Jaquez each pleaded guilty to one count of murder for hire by interstate travel resulting in death.

They are currently awaiting sentencing.


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