HARTFORD â€“ The trial of one of several people charged by federal authorities in a â€śmurder-for-hireâ€ť plot to kill a man found shot to death in New Britain in 2014 started Monday in U.S. District Court in Hartford.
Hector Cardona-Diaz and several others allegedly plotted to kill Jesus Silva, of Meriden, after he didnâ€™t pay for a shipment of drugs that was sent to him through the U.S. Postal Service, according to New Britain police reports and federal court papers.
Silva was found Dec. 30, 2014 sitting in a car on Yeaton Street in New Britain with a gunshot wound to the head. New Britain police traced his death to a â€śmurder-for-hireâ€ť plot carried out by several people from Springfield who were acting on the orders of a drug lord who was angry over a diverted $40,000 cocaine shipment, police reports said.
Silva was involved in high-level drug dealing in Puerto Rico for several years and even acted as an informant, aiding police in the seizure of $62,000 in drug proceeds from an airport on the island, said warrants issued in 2016 for the arrests of three people on state charges. Silva in 2014 had been receiving kilos of cocaine from Puerto Rico hidden in ceramic figurines that were smuggled to Connecticut through the U.S. Postal Service, New Britain police said. Silva would send the money for the drugs to Puerto Rico by stashing currency between pages of books, his family said. However, a shipment of money sent in November 2014 never made it, prompting Silva to receive death threats in the weeks before he was killed, the warrant said. Federal authorities took over the case and charged Cardona-Diaz, Joel Jaquez and others in connection with the drug ring and the murder. Several people pleaded guilty to the charges, but Cardona-Diaz took his case to trial. He is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to commit murder for hire, and murder for hire by interstate travel.
Two of the men charged, Hector Roman, 30, of New Britain, and Melvin Rivera-Lopez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The two men were arrested in Jan. 2015 after they traveled to a Hartford post office to pick up a package that contained 300 grams of cocaine as part of the drug ring, federal officials said. Two others, Joel Jaquez, of Springfield, and Jesus Sierra pleaded guilty in January to participating in the â€śmurder-for-hireâ€ť plot.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.