OCT 31 (HOUSTON) – Francisco Santibanez, 33, has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for use of interstate commerce facilities in murder-for-hire, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Santibanez, of Houston, pleaded guilty Dec. 5, 2011.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Santibanez a 120-month-term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.
The conviction and eventual sentence today arises from his arrest on May 13, 2011. According to the complaint filed of record in the case, between April 21, 2011, and May 11, 2011, Santibanez solicited a confidential source to conduct a murder-for-hire on an individual whom he stated had robbed him of four kilograms of cocaine. The murder was to be in exchange for $10,000.
The complaint indicated that on May 4, 2011, Santibanez provided $2000 as a down payment in order for the individual to purchase a weapon and for expenses incurred to facilitate the murder. Santibanez provided specifics of what he wanted done and how the homicide should be conducted. Santibanez also provided the potential victim’s license plate number and the type of car driven, according to court documents.
Santibanez instructed that the victim was not to be killed at his residence, but rather on Highway 99 outside of Richmond. He indicated it was a desolate roadway where the victim often traveled and the source would have time to conduct the homicide there, according to the complaint. Santibanez further noted he had hired someone previously, but the murder attempt had failed.
Santibanez requested the victim’s driver’s license to prove he had been killed.
Santibanez has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by a Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Richard J. Magness is prosecuting the case as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.