The family came under investigation in 2009 when four men posing as cops with flashing lights on their car and badges dangling from their necks barged into a home owned by Derrick Santiesteban. They swiped 30 to 40 marijuana plants before bolting, the indictment states.
Santiesteban, who caught the rip-off on video, identified one of the intruders as Fidel Ruz Moreno, 35, and ended up scoping out Moreno’s home with other defendants, records state.
At some point, Moreno emerged from the home and left in a white van, prompting Santiesteban to begin following the van in his own car. When Moreno reached a stop sign, Santiesteban blocked the van and then rushed it, forcing the victim into the rear.
Minutes later, one of the other defendants, Norge Mandulay, shot Moreno five times before tossing his body from the vehicle, the indictment states. He proceeded to beat Moreno — cracking his skull — to make sure he was dead.
The defendants then tried to clean the vehicle. “They were pulling out panels with blood and brain tissue,” said Athas. Later, they drove the van to the Everglades and burned it.
During the court hearing Wednesday, prosecutors argued that most of the family members — including the four Santiesteban brothers — should not be released on bond, saying they are dangers to the community and flight risks.
The five defendants charged with the kidnapping and slaying of Moreno — Derrick Santiesteban, Gilberto Santiesteban Jr., Yadira Santiesteban, Juan Felipe Castaneda, and Manduley — could face the death penalty, prosecutors said. Castaneda is still at large.
Others charged with conspiracy to distribute: Dayana Castellanos of Miami, German Silvestro of Miami, David Silva of Miami, Raul Fabian Ramirez Jr., of Miami, Francisco Javier Diaz of Miami-Dade, Alejandro Pimentel of Miami, and Estrella Mijares of Miami.
Two others charged with conspiracy are still at large: Darvis Santiesteban of Miami and John Villalonga of Miami-Dade.