MIAMI - A federal agent spotted a student at a gun range buying several receivers for AR-15 rifles. He sensed something suspicious.
Timothy Trenschel, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, confronted the student. And he learned that the kid was a small player in what was an international arms trafficking organization.
It would take authorities about a year to gather enough evidence against the men, who had sent the student to buy receivers that were going to end up in Cali, Colombia, and later in the hands of leftist FARC rebels.
The student told Trenschel that Erik Comesana had hired him to buy weapons for Andres Campo. It took authorities about a year to arrest Comesana. A jury indicted him on several firearms charges including dealing in arms without a license.
Campo and Comesana, 25, were friends and associates. Campo fled to New York and came back to continue his business. He was helping Comesana pay his legal fees. But when he sensed that Comesana had turned into a snitch, Campo killed him, prosecutors said.
He first asked Comesana to meet him at a warehouse, so that he could give him money, police said. Campos shot him twice in front of Carlos Rios, a man who worked with him. He used a machete to chop his legs. Rios helped Campos to wrap his body in plastic and used an extension cord to hold it.
The men then took the body to a desolated area, covered it in gas and set the corpse on fire. Fire rescue found the body, Items the two men left at the scene would help police track them down.
On July 3, 2012, agents searched a home and found their identification and firearms trafficking paraphernalia. Just 23 days later, police would find the Campos and Rios hiding in a Miami motel.
Rios filed a guilty plea and was sentenced to life in prison. Campos plead not guilty.
A jury found him guilty of firearms trafficking, conspiracy, first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a weapon as a fugitive and obstruction of justice in September.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga sentenced Campos to life in prison Nov. 26.
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