[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]APR 16 -- MANHATTAN, NY - JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (“DEA”) and LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTOPHER PEREZ, a/k/a "Cross," pleaded guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court to the murder of a Mexico-based narcotics associate MIGUEL ANGEL CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA, a/k/a "Noe Alfredo Castro-Loera."[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]According to the Indictment and statements made at yesterday's plea proceeding before United States District Judge NAOMI REICE BUCHWALD: PEREZ and the murder victim, CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA, were associates of a Mexico-based cocaine trafficking organization that supplied bulk quantities of cocaine to distributors in New York, Chicago, Detroit and California. On August 23, 2004, in Detroit, PEREZ and co-conspirators met with CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA, and kidnapped him to question him regarding a drug debt. During his guilty plea, PEREZ admitted to kidnapping CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA so that CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA could be murdered.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]As a summary of the evidence provided at yesterday's proceeding by the Government revealed, on August 23, 2004, PEREZ and co-conspirators kidnapped CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA to question him regarding 70 kilograms of cocaine that PEREZ believed had been stolen from him. As a result of the interrogation that followed, PEREZ came to believe that CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA and his superiors in Mexico were plotting to have PEREZ murdered. PEREZ then suffocated CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA with duct tape, and later burned his body in an effort to destroy evidence and avoid identification of the body. PEREZ later described the murder of CHAIDEZ-ESPARZA in a covertly videotaped meeting with an informant acting on behalf of law enforcement.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]PEREZ pleaded guilty to one count of murder in furtherance of a narcotics trafficking conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge BUCHWALD on July 22, 2009. PEREZ, 40, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Mr. DASSIN praised the investigative work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, Group T-41 which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, and New York State Police. Mr. DASSIN also thanked DEA offices in Detroit, Michigan, and Monterrey, Mexico, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Los Angeles Office for their work in the investigation.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]The prosecution is being conducted by the Office's International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys ANIRUDH BANSAL and TODD W. BLANCHE are in charge of the prosecution.