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Las Vegas man convicted in drug, firearm case that resulted in death

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Posted at 3:54 PM, Oct 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 18:54:10-04

Following a seven-day trial, a federal jury convicted a Las Vegas man Wednesday of drug and firearm crimes that resulted in the death of a man during a drug deal at a North Las Vegas apartment in November 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Louis Matthews, 35, was convicted by the jury of one count of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in death.

Matthews faces up to 10 years in prison on the conspiracy charge, and up to life in prison on the firearm charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12.

Three co-defendants were also charged in the scheme. John Thomas, 25, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in death, and is awaiting sentencing. Julio Nunez, 28, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and is awaiting sentencing.

Angel Juarez, 29, of North Las Vegas, is awaiting trial.

According to the court records and information submitted to the jury, on Nov. 30, 2013, at about 7 p.m., defendants Matthews and Thomas arrived at an apartment on East Cheyenne Avenue in North Las Vegas to participate in a deal to purchase 20 pounds of marijuana from the deceased victim, Luciano Madrigal-Herrera. Also present at the apartment were the two other co-defendants, Nunez and Juarez.

The victim showed some of the marijuana to Matthews for inspection, and then went back outside to retrieve the rest. Matthews also left the apartment, stating he was going to get his friend, Thomas, as well as money for the marijuana.

The three men returned to the apartment, and then Thomas and Matthews each produced handguns and repeatedly shot the victim during an attempt to rob him of the marijuana, causing his death. The defendants took the marijuana and attempted to flee with it.

Nunez, in an attempt to prevent Matthews and Thomas from fleeing with the marijuana, shot at both of them with a sawed-off shotgun, striking both Thomas and his vehicle. Thomas and Matthews were ultimately able to escape the scene.

Thomas was apprehended later the same night by the North Las Vegas Police Department after officers discovered that his gunshot-riddled vehicle had been left behind at the scene parked in front of the apartment where Madrigal-Herrera had been killed. Matthews was charged after the ensuing investigation led to his identity as the second suspect.

This case was investigated by ATF, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and North Las Vegas Police Department.