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Man linked to Mexican drug lord Chapo Guzman convicted of 24 year-old murder in California

January 24, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Man linked to Mexican drug lord Chapo Guzman convicted of 24 year-old murder in California

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SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A man with ties to the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo” was convicted Friday in a revenge murder in Orange County 24 years ago.

Jurors deliberated for about a day before convicting Paulino Olmos Gonzalez, 49, of first-degree murder. He faces 25 years to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 26.

Gonzalez was serving a federal sentence in a Texas prison for a separate case from 2014, when DNA evidence from a can of Budweiser linked him to the killing of Salvador Murillo, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray said.

The prosecutor said Nov. 3, 1991, Gonzalez was driving for a longtime friend, Fidel Mercado, who was a top associate of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

As they were driving around Santa Ana, the drug dealer spotted Murillo and told Gonzalez to pull over. Mercado got out of the car with his “muscle” armed enforcer, grabbed Murillo and crammed him into the back of the car, Murray said.

Mercado directed Gonzalez to drive to Bastanchury Road, where Gonzalez was told to turn the car around as Mercado and his armed enforcer led Murillo into an orange grove, according to the prosecutor.

Later that day, Murillo was found shot to death in a rural area of Yorba Linda full of orange groves and oil wells, according to a press release by Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Mercado believed that Murillo had stolen two kilos of cocaine in a robbery several weeks before he was killed. The lost drugs had a street value in 1991 of about $40,000 to $50,000, the prosecutor said.

“My client was just driving, doing nothing but driving. Paulino Gonzalez did not help anybody kill anybody,” defense attorney Joel Garson said.

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