A Lorain man and an inmate at a federal prison in New Jersey were indicted for their conspiracy to commit murder for hire and to distribute cocaine, law enforcement officials said.
Indicted are Eduardo Rios Velasquez, 36, of Lorain, and Angel Cordero, 36, an inmate at Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution.
Velasquez and Cordero had previously been incarcerated together. Cordero was in contact with Velasquez in the summer of 2017 through a contraband cellular phone that had been smuggled into Fort Dix, according to court documents.
Cordero put Velasquez in contact with another inmate. Velasquez offered to pay the other inmate money if he could provide Velasquez with the address for a woman identified in court documents as T.G. Cordero told the inmate that Velasquez had been hired to kill T.G, according to court documents
Additionally, another person supplied Velasquez with large shipments of cocaine, with Cordero serving as the broker in the deals. Federal law enforcement authorities intercepted a kilogram of cocaine in July that was being shipped to Velasquez, according to court documents.
“This was a tremendous effort by law enforcement to avert a tragedy,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said.
“These two individuals are alleged to be so bold as to hire a hitman and order the movement of cocaine, all while serving time for past crimes. Even behind bars, they continue to show a blatant disregard for authority,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “It is with the investigative know-how and collaboration with our law enforcement partners, like the FBI, that we can ensure these perpetual criminals face additional charges for their actions.”
“This individual is being held accountable for his ruthless willingness to kill someone for money,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. “The FBI Cleveland Division commends the collaboration between the law enforcement agencies involved in disrupting this conspiratorial murder for hire.”
If convicted, each defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including each defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, each defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian McDonough, Brad Beeson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Hiral Mehta following an investigation by the New York Department of Homeland Security, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.