News and Press Releases


June 7, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced the filing of a complaint charging defendant Mercedes Morales, 57, of Miramar, in a murder-for-hire plot. Morales was arrested on June 7, 2010, and is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer tomorrow, June 8, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. in Fort Lauderdale.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, the defendant contacted an individual to help her plan and execute the murder of her ex-husband. In fact, however, the individual whom the defendant contacted was a cooperating witness working at the direction of the FBI. The complaint further alleges that during May 2010, in a series of recorded conversations at a Starbucks in Fort Lauderdale, Morales described her ex-husband as a “traitor” for having assisted federal authorities in an earlier investigation that led to the defendant’s 2003 conviction on money laundering charges, and specifically directed the cooperating witness to tell her ex-husband that the murder was ordered by Mecha, which is Morales’ nickname. To seal the deal, on May 26, 2010, Morales gave the cooperating witness a diamond ring, valued at more than $5,000, as a down payment on the murder.

Mr. Ferrer commended the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael R. Sherwin and Frank Tamen.

A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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