Criminal Justice News

Monday, September 08, 2014

Miami Resident Convicted of 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 conviction of Andres Campo, 26, of Miami. Campo was convicted by a jury on all counts of a 12 count indictment charging him with obstruction of justice by murder, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and a number of related firearms trafficking charges. U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga presided over the trial.

Specifically, Campo was charged and 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. At sentencing, Campo faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

According to the evidence at trial, Erik Comesana, the victim, was a straw purchaser in 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. The organization was run by Campo, who used Comesana and other 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, Comesana was detained after an ATF Special Agent noticed Comesana’s accomplice purchasing an unusual number of AR-15 lower receivers. Comesana was detained and 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.

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 his 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 his accomplice, Carlos Rios, then fled Florida for a period of time before ultimately returning to resume their arms trafficking business.

During the next year, while searching for Campo and Rios, the investigation continued. 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.

Carlos Rios previously pled guilty to participating in the murder and received a sentence of life in prison.

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.

No comments: