Ex MMA-fighter takes kidnapping plea in murder plot

Ariel Gandulla agrees to testify against others charged

By Michelle F. Solomon - Podcast Producer/Reporter

MIAMI - A former mixed-martial arts fighter pleaded guilty Friday to kidnapping in a murder plot he was allegedly involved in along with three others, including a part-owner of Presidente Supermarkets. Prosecutors dropped murder and conspiracy to commit charges against Ariel Gandulla after he agreed to testify against the other men involved in the plot. He was sentenced to three years for the kidnapping charge.

Authorities said that Alexi Vila Perdomo plotted the June 1, 2011, murder of 43-year-old Camilo Salazar with Manuel Marin, a part owner of several Presidente Supermarkets. Gandulla, 51, and fight trainer and promoter Roberto Isaac were also alleged to have been involved in the crime.

"The June 1, 2011 torture and murder of 43-year-old Camilo Salazar should not be lost with the notoriety of the alleged perpetrators and the lurid details of the crime," said Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement. "Ariel Gandulla's guilty plea and his willingness to testify in the forthcoming trials of Manuel Marin, Roberto Issac and Alexis Vila Perdomo will add important evidentiary pieces to our efforts to bring Camilo Salazar's alleged killer to justice." She called the "wealth, infidelity, rage, conspiracy and murder," all a part of the prosecution, "stuff usually seen in Hollywood movies and tabloid headlines."

According to an arrest warrant, Salazar's body was found June 1, 2011, just west of a brush fire along a dirt road east of Okeechobee Road, near Northwest 137th Avenue.

His hands were bound behind his back and his body was partially burned.

A medical examiner later determined that Salazar had suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his head, a slit throat and burns to his groin area.

Authorities said Vila Perdomo plotted Salazar's murder with Marin because Salazar was allegedly having an affair with Marin's wife.

Vila Perdomo is Gandulla's former training partner.

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