A Florida supermarket magnate accused of masterminding the grisly 2011 murder of his wife’s lover — with the help of two former MMA fighters and a trainer — has been arrested in Spain.
Manuel Marin was wanted by Miami prosecutors for the murder of Camilo Salazar. Spanish police found and arrested him on Tuesday, outside the American embassy in Madrid, where he had gone to renew his passport, according to El Pais, a daily newspaper in Spain.
He was the founder and former co-owner of the Presidente supermarket chain, which, at its height, had 30 stores in South Florida and brought in about $700 million each year.
The 64-year-old had been on the run for years, ever since Salazar’s body was found in a semi-rural area adjacent to the Everglades west of Miami on June 1, 2011, hands bound, throat slit and groin burned, as previously reported by Oxygen.com.
Marin wanted Salazar dead because his wife, Jenny, was having a secret affair with him, and he turned to two mixed-martial arts fighters and a trainer and to help him kidnap, torture and murder Salazar, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Oxygen.com.
Alexis Vila Perdomo, 47, a Cuban-born, two-time world champion wrestler, Olympic medalist and MMA fighter known as “The Exorcist,” is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and is currently being held without bail in Miami, according to court records and a spokesperson for the Florida Attorney General’s office in Miami, Lorna Salomon.
Perdomo won gold medals in wrestling at world championships in 1993 and 1994, a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1995, and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, before defecting to the United States in 1997. He was a wrestling coach before becoming an MMA fighter.
Also charged is Ariel “The Panther” Gandulla, another former MMA fighter, and Roberto Isaac, a fight trainer and promoter, according to the Miami Herald. While Isaac has been arrested, Gandulla has not, despite living openly with his wife and three children in Vancouver, Canada, the Herald reports.
It was Perdomo who connected the men, prosecutors say.
Marin and Perdomo met in Cuba in 1993, and Marin became “a father figure” to him, the warrant alleges. Marin eventually helped Perdomo come to the United States from Puerto Rico after defecting there from Cuba, gave him a job and helped him open a wrestling studio, according to the warrant.
While Peromo was not in Miami at the time of Salazar’s murder, phone records show 26 calls between Perdomo, Marin, Gandulla and Isaac on the day of Salazar’s murder. The warrant for Marin’s arrest says that his phone was used in the same area where Salazar’s corpse was later found, and toll records show him driving in that area, prosecutors allege.
A fingerprint belonging to Gandulla was allegedly found on the SUV Salazar was driving the day he disappeared, according to prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Marin’s son, Yaddiel Marin, 32, is the subject of a law enforcement investigation, according to the Miami Herald, which reports that prosecutors believe he was bankrolling his fugitive father for years, making child support payments, and arranging visits with him in Cuba.
But Tuesday evening, when Marin attempted to enter the American embassy in Madrid, Spanish police stationed there observed him nervously attempt to avoid them, causing them to stop and question him, El Pais reported. That’s when they discovered an international warrant for his arrest.
Currently sitting in a Spanish cell, Marin awaits extradition to Miami.
[Photo: Manuel Marin (left) and Alexis Vila Perdomo (right). Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Office]