Traf­ficker gets 15 years

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Tony Perry tony. perry@ latimes. com

A con­victed drug traff icker was sen­tenced to 15 years in prison — af­ter the judge saw grisly pic­tures of a mur­der vic­tim that the traf­ficker texted to his own girl­friend.

Juan Cas­tro- Navarro, 43, of Si­naloa, Mexico, had pleaded guilty in San Diego fed­eral court to con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute metham­phetamine and heroin.

U. S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­zalo Curiel called him a “mon­ster” who dis­trib­uted “poi­son” in the U. S.

Cas­tro was not charged with mur­der be­cause the vic­tim ap­pears not to have been a U. S. citizen and the 2014 killing oc­curred in Ti­juana, pros­e­cu­tors said.

At Fri­day’s sen­tenc­ing, pros­e­cu­tors in­tro­duced a se­ries of text mes­sages sent by Cas­tro to his fel­low traff ick­ers and his girl­friend show­ing pic­tures of a ri­val gang mem­ber who had been kid­napped and killed be­cause he stole metham­phetamine from Cas­tro.

One pic­ture showed the vic­tim with a plas­tic bag over his head and bruises on his but­tocks. Another pic­ture showed other men with a base­ball bat hold­ing him down. And another showed the vic­tim with a black eye and tied to a chair with his hands be­hind his back.

“I just want you to know that I love you guys and I’m only go­ing to kill one more,” Cas­tro texted to his fel­low traf­fick­ers and his girl­friend, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. “I have never killed any­one who didn’t de­serve it. I’ll see you later.”

His girl­friend al­legedly texted back: “What is this? Are you OK? Thank God. Be care­ful my love. I love you with all my heart.”

An in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­fied only as Poke­mon texted Cas­tro to ask, “Did you beat him or choke him?”

Cas­tro texted in re­turn: “The sec­ond.”

Poke­mon re­sponded “Very well” and used a semi­colon and a paren­the­sis to de­note a smile.

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