December 7, 2022

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Jury convicts out of state woman in murder for hire case

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McALLEN, Texas – A federal jury sitting in McAllen has convicted a 52-year-old woman for conspiracy to commit murder for hire, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
 
The jury deliberated for less than two hours before convicting Viola Elizabeth Garcia, Oxnard, California, following a four-day trial.
 
During trial, the jury heard that in 2018, Mexican Mafia gang members arranged for the murder of an individual residing in Mission. An inmate who was serving a sentence for an attempted murder in 1999 contracted a Colonia Chiques gang member on parole in Oxnard, California, to execute the murder in exchange for $20,000. 

The gang member recruited and conspired with three additional individuals including Garcia who was his mother. Testimony revealed she agreed to travel from California to Texas to commit the murder in exchange for payment. 
 
On Aug. 30, 2018, Garcia and co-conspirators forcibly entered the victim’s residence in 
Mission and attempted to execute the murder. Their attempt was unsuccessful and they tried to flee from the scene. At that time, Garcia led responding law enforcement officers on a high speed chase until she crashed the vehicle.  
 
The jury also heard that in July 2018, they attempted to murder the same victim.
 
At trial, Garcia admitted she traveled to Texas in July and August 2018 with the co-conspirators while they were in possession of firearms. She also admitted to being present and witnessing gunshots fired in the July 2018 murder attempt. 

Garcia attempted to convince the jury that she was unaware of any agreement or attempt to commit murder and claimed the purpose of the trip was to transport co-conspirators to visit family members and to look at potential real estate for her daughter who resided in Arizona.
 
They did not believe those claims and found her guilty as charged.  
 
U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa presided over trial and set sentencing for Jan. 30, 2023. At that time, Garcia faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $??? maximum fine.
 
Garcia will remain in custody pending that hearing. 
 
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and police departments in Mission and Oxnard, California. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto Lopez Jr., Cahal P. McColgan and Sarina S. DiPiazza are prosecuting the case.

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