Miami Resident Sentenced to Life in Prison for Obstruction of Justice by Murder and Firearms Trafficking
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announce the sentencing of Andres Campo, 26, of Miami. On September 5, 2014, a jury had convicted Campo on all counts of a 12-count indictment, charging Campo with obstruction of justice by murder, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and a number of export violation charges related to Campo’s role as the leader of a arms trafficking organization shipping firearms, and firearm parts, to Colombia. Campo was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga to a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Specifically, Campo was convicted of conspiring to obstruct justice by murder (18 U.S.C. § 1512); obstruction of justice by murder (18 U.S.C. § 1512); possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, resulting in death (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and (j)); conspiracy to export firearms without a license (18 U.S.C. § 554); six counts of possessing firearms parts that were intended for illegal exportation (18 U.S.C. § 554); and two counts of possessing a firearm while a fugitive from justice (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(2)). The jury further found the murder was premeditated.
According to the evidence at trial, Campo was the leader of an international arms trafficking organization responsible for the shipment of numerous AR-15 rifles, .50 caliber rifles, and other firearms and firearm parts to Cali, Colombia. Campo employed straw purchasers to buy firearms and firearm parts from legal firearm dealers in south and central Florida. The firearms and firearm parts were gathered at various locations in Miami, taken apart into smaller pieces, and then hidden inside of boxes of miscellaneous materials that were shipped to Colombia.
In October 2009, ATF detained one of Campo’s employees, Erik Comesana, after an ATF Special Agent noticed Comesana’s accomplice purchasing an unusual number of AR-15 lower receivers. Comesana provided a statement to the agents. The investigation continued until March 2011, when Comesana was ultimately arrested and charged with firearms trafficking violations in the Southern District of Florida. During Campo’s trial, multiple witnesses testified that Campo was concerned that Comesana would cooperate with law enforcement.
On May 27, 2011, Comesana notified the federal court that he intended to plead guilty. Later that evening, Comesana’s body was found burning in southwest Miami-Dade County, after being murdered in another location. A joint investigation by the MDPD Homicide Bureau and ATF subsequently identified Campo and Carlos Rios as the perpetrators.
According to the evidence at trial, after Comesana was arrested, Campo grew increasingly paranoid about the prospect that Comesana would cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation.
On May 27, 2011, Campo instructed Comesana to appear at a warehouse, purportedly to give him money to pay for Comesana’s attorney. Instead, Comesana was shot twice and died at the scene. Comesana’s body was transported to another location and set on fire. Campo and Rios then fled Florida for a period of time before ultimately returning to resume their arms trafficking business.
During the next year, the investigation continued as the investigator’s search for Campo and Rios. On July 3, 2012, both Campo and Rios narrowly missed being arrested when agents searched a home in which their identification and firearms trafficking paraphernalia was found. Ultimately, on July 26, 2012, Campos and Rios were arrested in a Miami motel parking lot, after they emerged from a room that they had rented in a false name. A loaded firearm and an upper AR-15 was recovered from Campo’s vehicle.
Rios previously pled guilty to participating in the murder and received a sentence of life in prison. Five other members of Campo’s organization have been prosecuted for their role in the arms trafficking offenses and received sentences between probation and 15 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Ferrer stated “Andres Campo brutally murdered another young man to prevent that man from providing information about Mr. Campo’s illegal arms trafficking business to federal authorities. The resulting life sentence sends a strong message that this conduct will not be tolerated. The joint investigation by ATF and Miami-Dade Police Department into Erik’s murder is an excellent example of federal and state agencies successfully working together to ensure justice is served on those who violate the law.”
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to protect our communities from violent crime, to have quality life,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Hugo Barrera, Miami Field Division. “ATF will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to eradicate violent gun related crime and dismantle international firearms trafficking organizations.”
Mr. Ferrer thanked the many law enforcement agencies involved in this South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) operation. In particular, Mr. Ferrer thanked ATF and MDPD. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony LaCosta and Seth M. Schlessinger.
The South Florida HIDTA was established in 1990. This program, made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, fosters intra-agency cooperation among law enforcement agencies in South Florida and involves them in developing a strategy to target the region’s drug-related threats to public safety. The South Florida HIDTA uses the funding provided by the Office of National Drug Control Policy that sponsors a variety of law enforcement initiatives that target the region’s illicit drug threats.
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 http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.