For Immediate Release
Convicted Drug Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison for First Degree Murder of Drug Supplier
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A convicted drug dealer with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced to life in federal prison today in connection with the killing of a drug supplier at point-blank range during a drug deal gone bad in November 2013, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.
Following a seven-day jury trial in May 2019, Louis Matthews, 37, was found guilty of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in death. United States District Judge Andrew P. Gordon presided over the trial.
The evidence at trial showed that Matthews, less than a month after being released from prison, having just served a lengthy sentence for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, planned the drug deal. On November 20, 2013, Matthews and his cousin, co-conspirator John Thomas, met in a North Las Vegas apartment to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from three suppliers: Angel Juarez, Julio Nunez, and Luciano Madrigal-Herrera. During the deal, Matthews and Thomas drew handguns and shot Madrigal-Herrera seven times at point-blank range in the chest, killing him. Matthews and Thomas then grabbed the marijuana and ran. Nunez chased after them with a shotgun, shooting Thomas in the back shoulder and causing him to drop the marijuana they stole.
Thomas, Nunez, and Juarez have all been sentenced to prison on charges related to the homicide.
Matthews has prior felony convictions for Possession of a Controlled Substance in 2001, Bribing or Intimidating Witness to Influence Testimony in 2004, Possession of a Controlled Substance in 2005, Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base in 2005 and Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm in 2015.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and North Las Vegas Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexandra Michael, Phillip Smith, and Steven Myhre.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program by the Department of Justice that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, the Department announced the reinvigoration of PSN. For more information about PSN, visit www.justice.gov/usao-nv.