Home Miami Press Releases 2013 Twelve Defendants Sentenced in Murder/Marijuana Grow House Conspiracy

Twelve Defendants Sentenced in Murder/Marijuana Grow House Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 23, 2013
  • Southern District of Florida (313) 226-9100

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced the sentencings of defendants Derrick Santiesteban, of Miami; Juan Felipe Castañeda, of Miami; Alexander Santiesteban, of Miami; German Silvestro, of Miami; David Silva, of Miami; Francisco Javier Diaz, of Miami-Dade; Alejandro Pimentel, of Miami; John Villalonga, of Miami-Dade; Raul Fabian Ramirez, Jr., of Miami; Yadira Santiesteban, of Miami; Dayana Castellanos, of Miami; and Estrella J. Mijares, of Miami, before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.

According to court documents, the defendants operated an extensive network of hydroponic marijuana grow houses throughout South Florida. In 2009, a large quantity of marijuana belonging to the organization was stolen. Members of the organization set out to find the people responsible for the theft. On June 28, 2009, Derrick Santiesteban, Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., Norge Manduley, and Juan Felipe Castañeda kidnapped the individual who they thought was responsible for the theft of the marijuana. During the abduction, the individual was shot and killed.

Derrick Santiesteban was sentenced to life in prison on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and kidnapping with death resulting.

Juan Felipe Castañeda was sentenced to 360 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

Alexander Santiesteban was sentenced to 262 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, on charges of conspiracy to possess one thousand (1,000) or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

German Silvestro was sentenced to 144 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. David Silva, Francisco Javier Diaz, Alejandro Pimentel, and John Villalonga were each sentenced to 120 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Raul Fabian Ramirez, Jr. was sentenced to 46 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Each of these defendants previously pled guilty to count one of the indictment, charging them with conspiracy to possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute.

Yadira Santiesteban was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Dayana Castellanos was sentenced to 37 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Estrella J. Mijares was sentenced to 37 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Each of these defendants pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In addition, the following individuals previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing:

Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., of Miami, previously pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping (counts one, two, and three). Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory term of 10 years in prison, and a maximum term of up to life imprisonment for count one; a maximum term of 20 years in prison for count two; and a maximum term of up to life in prison for count three.

Darvis Santiesteban, of Miami, previously pled guilty to counts one and two of the indictment. Count one charged him with conspiracy to possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute, and count two charged him with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory term of 10 years in prison, and a maximum term of up to life imprisonment on count one; and a maximum term of 20 years in prison on count two.

Gilberto Santiesteban, Sr., of Miami, previously pled guilty to count one of the indictment charging him with conspiracy to possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a possible maximum term of up to life in prison.

Norge Manduley, of Hialeah, was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to possess less than 100 marijuana plants with the intent to distribute. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2013, before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. At sentencing, Manduley faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and Miami-Dade Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Athas and Pat Sullivan.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

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