- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An illegal alien from Guatemala arrested on drug charges last week tried to arrange the killing of an inmate in the D.C. Jail and planned to pay the killer in monthly installments, federal officials said.

Victor Moscoso Espana, 20, was arrested Friday in Hyattsville and charged with using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire.

Mr. Moscoso faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted and will be deported if he is not convicted. If he is convicted, federal officials said, he will be deported after serving his time.

He has not been charged in the drug trafficking case.

“If he’s convicted, he would go to federal prison, serve his time and then he would be turned back over to our custody and be deported,” said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “If he’s acquitted, he would be turned back over to us and be deported.”

ICE agents began investigating Mr. Moscoso in September after receiving information about a conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin from Guatemala through various U.S. entry points, including Washington Dulles International Airport.

Law-enforcement officials said the conspirators planned to purchase several kilograms of smuggled cocaine for about $100,000.

ICE agents were monitoring Mr. Moscoso on Friday as he awaited the arrival of a cocaine shipment from Guatemala, Mr. Boyd said.

They recorded Mr. Moscoso saying he was going to have an inmate in the D.C. Jail killed for about $15,000, and that he would make the payments on a monthly basis during the next year. Agents arrested Mr. Moscoso immediately.

Mr. Boyd said he could not discuss details of the murder-for-hire plot because the case is ongoing. He also would not say whether the proposed hit was related to the drug investigation.

Mr. Boyd said ICE agents and Metropolitan Police arrested two other illegal aliens from Guatemala on Saturday after subsequent investigations into the drug ring.

Jose Ramirez, 37, and Mario Guerra, 36, are being detained pending deportation proceedings, officials said.

Mr. Boyd said ICE previously had not detained any of the three illegals and that the only criminal record found was a minor traffic violation for Mr. Moscoso for an incident in Annapolis.

“All three are illegal,” Mr. Boyd said. “We don’t have any prior criminal histories on these guys, and ICE had not touched them before to our knowledge.”

Mr. Moscoso was scheduled for a preliminary hearing yesterday, but Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the District, said the hearing had been delayed until Nov. 9.

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