New York Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison For Obstructing Murder Investigation
JAN 27-- New Haven, CT….Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced today that RAYMOND PIÑA, age 28, formerly of New York, New York, was sentenced yesterday, January 26, 2004, by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to nine years in prison for obstructing a federal grand jury investigation into the 1996 murder of Theodore “Teddy” Casiano.
In April 2003, PI�A was convicted by a jury on one count of obstruction of justice.� In finding PI�A guilty, the jury determined that he had tampered with a witness who had been called to testify before the grand jury by instructing her not to appear before the grand jury and by instructing her to lie about his whereabouts.
A federal grand jury in Connecticut had been investigating the murder of Casiano and the possible involvement of RAYMOND PI�A in that murder.� Casiano had been a member of the Savage Nomad street gang and had been involved in a feud with another group led by Wilfredo Perez and Jose Antonio Perez.� The Perez brothers were distributing large quantities of cocaine on the retail level in Hartford in 1996.� Casiano threatened the Perez's drug distribution network and, as a result, killers from New York were hired to murder Casiano.� The killers were paid $6,000 for the murder, which was committed a few blocks away from Perez Auto, on Newfield Avenue in Hartford.� PI�A had traveled to Hartford with the killers on the day before the murder, but did not participate in the actual shooting.
During the course of its investigation, PI�A was approached by the Government and questioned about his involvement with the killers.� Shortly after this meeting, PI�A fled.� In an effort to develop additional evidence, as well as to locate PI�A, various witnesses were called before the grand jury.� PI�A tampered with one such witness by corruptly persuading her not to appear before the grand jury or, if she did appear, not to disclose his whereabouts.� PI�A was eventually located and apprehended at a high-priced, resort hotel in the South Beach District of Miami, Florida.
To date, three other persons have been convicted in this case.� Jose Antonio Perez, who was responsible for luring Casiano to the scene of the murder and also assisted the killers' escape, was convicted by the same jury in April 2003 on various charges of conspiring to commit murder-for-hire, killing Casiano as part of a murder-for-hire, killing Casiano as a violent act in furtherance of a racketeering enterprise, and using a firearm to kill Casiano.� Jose Antonio Perez was sentenced to multiple terms of life imprisonment.� Mario Lopez, who rode the motorcycle used in the "hit," has pleaded guilty to several charges relating to the murder-for-hire.� And Santiago Feliciano, who took the motorcycle back to New York for the killers after the murder, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit murder-for-hire.� Lopez and Feliciano are still awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hartford Police Department.