Manuel Marin, alleged mastermind of murder plot involving MMA veteran Alexis Vila, is caught in Spain

Manuel Marin is accused of enlisting Alexis Vila, and others, in a murder-for-hire plot.

By: Tim Bissell | 5 years ago
Manuel Marin, alleged mastermind of murder plot involving MMA veteran Alexis Vila, is caught in Spain
Manuel Marin mugshot ( Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office)

Former Bellator MMA tournament finalist Alexis Vila was arrested and charged with second degree murder in April. It is alleged that he, along with Ariel Gandulla (another former MMA fighter) and Roberto Isaacs (a fight promoter and trainer), carried out the gruesome murder of Camilo Salazar in Miami, FL in 2011. The man accused of orchestrating the murder, Manuel Marin, was apprehended in Spain on Tuesday.

Spanish outlet El Pais reports that Marin was nabbed by police when he attempted to renew his passport at the American embassy in Madrid. Marin is the founder and former co-owner of the Presidente supermarket chain, which — according to Oxygen — once had 30 stores across South Florida making around $700 million annually.

Marin is accused of wanting Salazar dead because of an alleged affair between the murder victim and Marin’s wife. Salazar’s body was found on a dirt road bordering the everglades. The corpse was found with hands bound, throat slit, and genitals torched.

Police say cell phone records, and pings from cell towers, show that Vila, Gandulla, Isaacs, and Salazar were in communication during the time of Salazar’s murder and that Marin’s cell was used close to where Salazar’s body was found.

Marin is now awaiting extradition to Miami where he will likely be charged with murder. Vila and Isaacs are both currently incarcerated in Miami-Dade county. Gandulla remains free, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Manuel Marin and his co-accused have all been charged with murder

Authorities say that Ariel Gandulla’s fingerprint was found in Salazar’s SUV and that they would like to charge him with murder. However, due to Gandulla being a Cuban defector (like Vila) there is bureaucratic red-tape making the US second guess whether they should apprehend and extradite the suspect.

Gandulla has been in a legal battle with Canada for a couple of years. He is petitioning to stay in the country, where he has gotten married and fathered three children. However, Canada is hesitant to grant him permanent residency because of his alleged past involvement with the Latin Kings street gang and accusations of battery. He fled the US before he could be tried on battery charges.

The US government are apparently concerned that if Gandulla reentered the US, and was acquitted of any involvement in the Salazar murder, he may resettle in the country and claim asylum.

Ariel Gandulla, Alexis Vila, Roberto Isaacs, and Manuel Marin are all considered innocent of all charges until proven guilty.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

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