Manhattan drug dealer sentenced to 23 years in prison for Bronx murder

A Manhattan man was sentenced Friday to 276 months in prison for the March 10, 2011, murder of Hector Arias.
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A Manhattan man was sentenced Friday to 276 months in prison for the March 10, 2011, murder of Hector Arias in the Bronx.

“In 2011, Michael Castillo shot and killed Hector Arias in cold blood in front of his fiancée and her young child,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “Today’s lengthy sentence shows that law enforcement will never give up on murder victims and their loved ones, no matter how long it takes to achieve justice.”

According to the investigation, Michael Castillo, 38, a.k.a. “Squirrel,”  was a member of a conspiracy to distribute marijuana centered near 193rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan. Castillo was hired by the leader of the conspiracy, David Espinal, a.k.a “D-Block,” to kill Hector Arias, the leader of a rival marijuana business operating in the same area.

On March 10, 2011, Castillo shot and killed Arias near 712 East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. Arias’ fiancée and her 8-year-old child witnessed the murder. Castillo and Espinal’s murder plot arose out of the rivalry between Espinal and Arias’ two marijuana businesses. After Castillo completed the murder, Espinal paid him in cash.

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