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Man convicted in Mexican cartel killing loses appeal in North Dakota

March 13, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Man convicted in Mexican cartel killing loses appeal in North Dakota

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A man found guilty of murder in a drug conspiracy case in North Dakota, which was tied to a significant Mexican cartel, has lost his appeal after asserting that his attorneys did a poor job and one of them was too chummy with a judge.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson sentenced Gabriel Martinez to life behind bars in 2008 for the fatal shooting of Lee Avila of Minnesota. The murder was tied to the violent Arellano-Felix cartel, which is based in Tijuana, Mexico.

Avila was babysitting his girlfriend’s 9-year-old son and his 4-year-old niece the night he was murdered.

During the trial, witnesses testified that Martinez knew the children were in the trailer but didn’t care. The defense said Martinez tried to get Avila out of the trailer.he prosecution had a more convincing case in the end.

According to The News Tribune, Martinez argued in his appeal that his defense lawyer at the timerThomas Dickson told him that Erickson “owed him favors” and Martinez should accept a plea deal rather than take the case to trial.

Prosecutors had laid out a convincing case which led to the conviction of Martinez.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken of South Dakota heard the appeal because Erickson was summoned to testify as a witness.

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