HARTFORD, Conn. — A drug trafficker from Puerto Rico has been convicted of hiring someone to kill a dealer from Connecticut he thought was skimming money from him.
Hector Cardona-Diaz, of Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to commit murder for hire resulting in death and drug offenses.
Cardona-Diaz, 30, hid cocaine in ceramic moldings and mailed them from Puerto Rico to people in Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts, for distribution, according to prosecutors. The recipients would then mail proceeds from the drug sales to Cardona-Diaz.
Authorities said Cardona-Diaz thought Jesus Silva, 24, of Meriden, was not sending back enough money so he hired another man to kill Silva.
“It’s another senseless violent crime, and one that will result in a lifetime prison term,” U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Deirdre Daly said. Investigators solved the case by navigating a puzzle of postal, phone and cell site records, she said.
Defense attorneys for Cardona-Diaz declined to comment.
Silva was killed by a gunshot to the head as he sat in his car in New Britain in December 2014. The shooter had arranged to meet Silva, purportedly to buy a car from him, and killed him after they drove together from Meriden to New Britain under the ruse that a mechanic needed to inspect the car, authorities said.
The shooter, Jesus Sierra, of Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in January to one count of murder for hire. Cardona-Dias had paid him $5,000 and promised to supply him with shipments of cocaine to carry out the killing, prosecutors said.
The trial in Hartford for Cardona-Diaz began on Sept. 11. The charges on which he was convicted carry a mandatory life sentence.
Cardona-Diaz and Sierra both await sentencing.