Puerto Rico Man Found Guilty of Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy and Murder of a Witness
WASHINGTON – Edison Burgos-Montes, of Puerto Rico, was convicted after a two-month jury trial of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and killing a government witness, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced today.
Burgos-Montes, 42, was convicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in San Juan of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of murdering a witness to prevent testimony in an official proceeding, and one count of murdering a witness in retaliation for providing information to law enforcement. U.S. District Court Judge Jay García-Gregory presided over the trial.
According to the superseding indictment, Burgos-Montes conspired to transport multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico for further distribution in Puerto Rico for significant financial gain.
On or about July 4, 2005, Burgos-Montes killed Madelin Semidey-Morales, a government witness and informant, to prevent her from further informing authorities about his unlawful narcotics trafficking and to retaliate against her for providing information relating to the commission or possible commission of a federal crime to a law enforcement officer. Burgos-Montes was Semidey-Morales’s consensual partner.
Burgos-Montes faces a possible penalty of life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty phase of the trial will begin on Sept. 10, 2012.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Julie Mosley of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela Mateo of the District of Puerto Rico. The case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Department, with assistance from the FBI’s San Juan Field Office Evidence Recovery Team.