Jury returns guilty verdict in murder-for-hire plot
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – A federal jury sitting in McAllen has convicted a 32-year-old man for conspiracy to commit murder for hire, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
The jury deliberated for just over an hour before convicting Christopher Andrade, Oxnard, California, following a four-day trial.
The jury heard that in 2018, Mexican Mafia gang members arranged for the murder of an individual residing in Mission.
Andrade was a Colonia Chiques gang member on parole who recruited and conspired with three additional individuals to execute the murder in exchange for $20,000. The others included his mother Viola Garcia, Noah Solis and Ronaldo Gallegos. Testimony revealed the co-conspirators agreed to travel from California to Texas to commit the murder in exchange for payment.
On Aug. 30, 2018, Garcia and co-conspirators attempted to forcibly entered the victim’s residence. The murder attempt was unsuccessful. They then tried to flee from the scene. At that time, Garcia led responding law enforcement officers on a high speed chase until she crashed the vehicle.
The jury heard testimony regarding text messages and phone calls that Andrade had made from his phone coordinating the murder attempt.
The jury also heard that in July 2018, the group had attempted to murder the same victim.
Andrade attempted to convince the jury he was not in fact the user of the phone and was unaware of any agreement or attempt to commit murder. The jury did not believe those claims and found him guilty as charged.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa presided over trial and set sentencing for Sept. 7. At that time, Andrade faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
Andrade has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Noah Solis, 24, and Ronaldo Gallegos, both 24 and from Oxnard, had previously pleaded guilty, while Garcia, 52, also of Oxnard, California, was convicted by a jury in November 2022. All are also pending sentencing.
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and police departments in Mission and Oxnard, California. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cahal P. McColgan and Peter I. Brostowin are prosecuting the case.
Updated July 3, 2023