Another arrest made in alleged murder-for-hire involving MMA fighters Alexis Vila, Ariel Gandulla

Alexis Vila is accused of conspiracy relating to a murder-for-hire plot.

By: Tim Bissell | 5 years ago
Another arrest made in alleged murder-for-hire involving MMA fighters Alexis Vila, Ariel Gandulla
Mugshot of Alexis Vila, formerly of Bellator, WSOF and Titan FC

On Thursday, Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle held a press conference where she outlined the county’s version of a gruesome 2011 murder that they believe was committed by a group that included MMA veterans Alexis Vila-Perdomo and Ariel Gandulla.

As a wrestler Vila-Perdomo, 47, represented his native Cuba at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In 2004 Vila-Perdomo drove a car into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He served three years in prison for ‘airport violence.’ Between 2007 and 2016 he fought professionally for promotions such as Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting. He was charged with murder in April.

Gandulla, 42, is also originally from Cuba. His professional MMA career ran between 2005 and 2015. Gandulla is currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Gandulla has been charged with murder in absentia but, due to his complicated immigration status, it is unclear if Canadian or US authorities will arrest him.

At Thursday’s press conference Fernandez Rundle stated that Vila-Perdomo and Ariel Gandulla were allegedly recruited by boxing promoter Roberto Isaac to kill Camilo Salazar, 43. Miami-Dade claims that Isaac, a suspected member of the Latin Kings street gang, was working for Manuel Marin, 64, the founder of supermarket chain El Presidente.

It is alleged that Salazar was having an affair with Marin’s wife and that this prompted Marin’s alleged murder-for-hire plot. Salazar’s body was discovered in June 2011 on a dirt road close to the Florida Everglades.

Salazar’s body showed signs of torture, including burned genitals. Salazar was also badly beaten and his throat was slit.

Marin relocated to Spain shortly after Salazar’s murder. He was arrested there in August, after attempting to renew his passport at the American embassy in Madrid.

Authorities: Cell phone records link Alexis Vila to the crime

Authorities in Miami-Dade claim that cell phone records reveal Manuel Marin, Alexis Vila Perdomo, Ariel Gandulla, and Roberto Isaac were in regular contact around the time of Salazar’s killing. Those records are also said to indicate that Gandulla and Isaac made calls close to Salazar’s home and that Marin and Isaacs made calls close to where Salazar’s body was found.

Thursday’s press conference also announced the arrest of Marin’s son Yaddiel Marin, 32, in connection with Salazar’s murder. He is currently being held on a $2 million bond. The elder Marin, Vila-Perdomo, and Isaac are all being held without bond.

Part of Fernandez Rundle’s press conference can be viewed below, via CBS Miami.

Both Marins, Vila-Perdomo, Gandulla and Isaac are 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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