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Press Release

Marijuana Trafficker Sentenced for Drug-Related Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Alexandria man was sentenced today to 45 years in prison for murdering another man in retaliation for robbing him of an ounce of marijuana, and trying to convince a witness to lie for him to cover it up.

According to court documents, Melvin Palma Flores, 20, was a marijuana dealer who carried firearms for protection while dealing drugs. Evidence presented at trial from Palma Flores’s social media accounts showed that Palma Flores posted images depicting the marijuana he sold, his cash proceeds, and the multiple guns and ammunition that he used to protect his drugs and his money. On October 25, 2019, the victim, X.B., arranged for his two associates to purchase marijuana from Palma Flores. In reality, X.B. intended for his associates to rob Palma Flores. When the associates showed up to Palma Flores’s home in Alexandria, one of them stole the marijuana from Palma Flores and brought it back to X.B.

Palma Flores then planned his retaliation against X.B. for setting up the robbery. Palma Flores, who was carrying a firearm, met with two of his associates and traveled to X.B.’s apartment complex in Alexandria. X.B., who was unarmed, was sitting on the staircase outside of his apartment. Palma Flores discharged his firearm multiple times, striking X.B. in the right arm and in the top of the head, causing X.B.’s death.

Following his arrest in February of 2020, Palma Flores wrote a letter to his girlfriend instructing her to lie about the events that occurred on the night of the murder and to influence others to lie about the incident to law enforcement—specifically, to try to frame another person for the murder.

In December 2021, Palma Flores was convicted by a federal jury of first-degree murder by firearm in relation to drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and witness tampering

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kevin Davis, Fairfax County Chief of Police; and Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Ben’Ary and Katherine E. Rumbaugh prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-142.

Updated September 7, 2022

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking