Two Defendants Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Murder-For-Hire Conspiracy
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joseph Anarumo, Jr., Special-Agent-in-Charge of the New York Division of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA and JOSE PEÑA were found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire, and the use of a firearm in connection with murder-for-hire. HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA and JOSE PEÑA were convicted after a 10-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Hector Raymond Peña and Jose Peña were cold-blooded contract killers who went to great lengths – even impersonating law enforcement – to commit their brutal murders. Yesterday’s swift convictions by the jury ensure that they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars paying for the lives they took.”
ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Joseph Anarumo, Jr. said: “The Solid Gold investigation exemplifies the power of inter-agency cooperation like no other. The case has endured the test of time and has closed homicides that have – up until this point – been open, cold cases. Now, after approximately 16 years, the resolve and determination of the investigators and prosecution team have finally given closure to the victims’ families. Justice has been done.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “Although New York City has vastly improved from the murderous days of the 1990s when these defendants committed their vicious acts, the NYPD never let up its investigation and secured the arrests that followed. Yesterday’s verdict represents unrelenting work by detectives with the support of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, whose prosecutors also are to be commended for delivering justice.”
According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:
HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA and others were hired by a drug organization to murder Pedro Medina in the spring of 1997. On May 9, 1997, HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA and others carried out that murder contract by impersonating police officers, abducting Mr. Medina in front of his home, executing him by shooting him in the head twice, and dumping his body on the side of the Harlem River Drive in Manhattan, New York.
HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA, JOSE PEÑA, and others were hired by a different drug organization to murder members of a robbery crew in the summer of 1997. On June 25, 1997, HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA, JOSE PEÑA, and others carried out that murder contract by impersonating police officers, abducting Jose Suarez and Juan Carmona, executing them by shooting them in the head, and burning their bodies beyond recognition inside a vehicle they left on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan, New York.
HECTOR RAYMOND PEÑA and JOSE PEÑA face mandatory minimum sentences of life in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Marrero on February 28, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the New York City Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Laurie A. Korenbaum, Timothy D. Sini, and Micah W. J. Smith are in charge of the prosecution.