Monday, March 20, 2006

An illegal alien from Guatemala pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to charges that he tried to arrange the killing of a D.C. jail inmate last year.

Victor Moscoso Espana, 20, of Hyattsville, admitted in D.C. District Court that he attempted to have inmate Alvaro Garcia-Hernandez — a fellow Guatemalan in jail on drug charges — killed for $15,000, which would have been paid in monthly installments.

According to court documents, Moscoso tried to arrange the hit because he “did not like” Garcia-Hernandez and wanted to “take over” his drug sources and “make money.”

Agents with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began investigating 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.

Court documents show that the hit man plot began when Moscoso arranged to meet another person — who was cooperating with investigating agents — at a Hess gasoline station in the 1900 block of New Jersey Avenue Northwest in October.

The two discussed having Garcia-Hernandez killed, and Moscoso gave the witness visiting days for Garcia-Hernandez, as well as his jail identification number.

When the two met in Hyattsville Oct. 18, Moscoso agreed to pay the $15,000 in installments.

When the two met again three days later, agents recorded their discussion and Moscoso gave the witness a down payment of $100 for the killing. Moscoso was arrested the next day.

Moscoso faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is scheduled to be sentenced June 16.

After serving his time, Moscoso will be turned over to ICE and placed in removal proceedings.

“He may very well go from the jail to his country, because he’s not here legally,” ICE spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs said. “I see no reason why he shouldn’t be [deported].”

Court documents show that Garcia-Hernandez was sentenced Oct. 11 to 37 months in prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

The documents also show that Garcia-Hernandez came to the U.S. in 1994 from Guatemala, received a work permit from Immigration and Naturalization Service and worked as a roofer and a mechanic.

Garcia-Hernandez was ordered to comply with deportation proceedings upon his release, the documents show.

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