South Florida

Wanted for grisly murder, Miami supermarket mogul finally captured in Spain

Manuel Marin
Manuel Marin Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

Authorities in Spain have arrested Manuel Marin, the former Presidente Supermarkets co-owner who had been on the run for years after he was accused of masterminding the grisly murder of his wife’s former lover in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Law-enforcement sources confirmed that Marin was arrested late Tuesday in Madrid.

The 64-year-old fugitive was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, according to the newspaper El País, which first reported the arrest on Wednesday. It was unclear whether Marin was there to surrender.

El País reported that Spanish police detained him because he was acting nervously as he tried to walk into the embassy to complete paperwork relating to his passport. Prosecutors in Miami will seek to extradite Marin to face trial along with his alleged co-conspirators in the grisly murder of Camilo Salazar in June 2011.

Marin had to know he was a wanted man — the telenovela-esque story of his case first appeared in the Miami Herald in April, drawing international media attention. His wealthy businessman son in Miami Beach has also been under scrutiny for allegedly bankrolling his dad’s flight from the law.

The case started when Salazar, 43, was found bound on a dirt road near the Everglades in Northwest Miami-Dade. He had been beaten, his throat slit, his groin burned.

According to an arrest warrant, detectives quickly discovered that Salazar was having an affair with Jenny Marin, an old girlfriend. She was, at the time, married to Manuel Marin, who then was vice president and co-owner of Presidente Supermarkets — one of the fastest-growing Hispanic supermarket chains in the United States.

Police say Marin found out about the affair and confronted the two. When the affair continued, police say, he turned to a boxing promoter and two mixed-martial arts fighters to help him kidnap, torture and murder Salazar.

Three days later, Marin took his passport and fled to Europe. The key evidence: That night, Marin’s phone was used in the same area where Salazar’s corpse was later discovered, and toll records also showed him driving near where the body was found.

Charged alongside him: Alexis Vila Perdomo, a former Cuban bronze medalist in wrestling who went on to have a short-lived career in MMA. Another man, Roberto Isaac, was also charged with murder.

Another ex-MMA fighter, Ariel Gandulla, is charged with murder but he is believed to be living openly in Canada, which has yet to agree to extradite him.

Marin’s son, Yaddiel Marin, 32, remains under law-enforcement scrutiny. A partner in the Pincho Factory chain of restaurants, prosecutors believe he was financially supporting his fugitive father, even paying his dad’s child support and arranging visits in Cuba for him.

The case has certainly affected Yaddiel Marin’s business dealings. The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that ex-NFL star Jonathan Vilma, a former Miami Hurricane, sued his business partners at the Pincho Factory restaurants, claiming they hid Yaddiel’s secret past to him before he invested.