A man who reportedly has ties to the Mexican cartel and who served as the head of a drug trafficking organization will spend life in prison in connection with the 2021 death of a woman from Barrow County.
According to a press release from the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, Edwin Murillo entered a guilty plea Friday on charges of murder, kidnapping and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in the Superior Court of Gilmer County. Murillo's charges were related to the kidnapping, torture and eventual murder of Rossana Delgado, 37, of Bethlehem, who was found dead on April 20, 2021, at a rental cabin in the Cherry Log community.
Murillo is the 10th person to plea guilty in connection with Delgado's death.
The District Attorney's Office said the matter was originally scheduled for a Monday jury trial in the Superior Court of Gilmer County. This trial was canceled as a result of the guilty plea and life sentence.
"At this time, and prior to his guilty plea, Defendant Murillo is serving a federal sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute arising out of offenses when Defendant Murillo was previously incarcerated in the state prison system," the press release said.
Murilllo was being housed in a federal supermax prison at ADX Florence before being transported to Gilmer County for prosecution.
The case began in 2021 when Murillo operated a prison broker system as the head of a drug trafficking organization while he was an inmate in the prison system. The members of this organization worked together to illegally commit acts of violence and obtain money and property through the sale of drugs and illegal controlled substances. They distributed controlled substances, including methamphetamine, throughout Georgia.
The associates of the drug trafficking organization conspired to abduct Delgado. The kidnapping happened on April 16, 2021, after she was lured to the Plaza Fiesta Shopping Mall in DeKalb County, under the assumption she would be going on a shopping trip.
"Delgado was taken to a residence in DeKalb County where she was bound and transported to subsequent locations in Clayton and Gilmer counties over a several day period, ultimately arriving at the location of her murder, a cabin in Gilmer County," the press release reads.
The cabin was a rental property. The suspects allegedly used a stolen identity and rented the cabin using an online vacation rental company.
The suspects allegedly tortured Delgado prior to her death, eventually leading to her murder. The release said the suspects also dismembered and burned Delgado's body. Additionally, they concealed and destroyed evidence of the crime. The members of the drug trafficking organization also helped secure transportation of its members to Mexico in an attempt to escape arrest.
Three of the suspects, Oscar Manuel Garcia, Megan Alyssa Colone and Juan Antonio Vega were arrested in Reynosa, Mexico in May 2021 and extradited to the United States. Juan Ayala-Rodriguez was arrested in Durango, Mexico in June 2021 and extradited to the United States. Several other suspects were arrested at various times throughout the investigation.
A Gilmer County Grand Jury returned an indictment against 14 suspects in Feb. 2022. A trial was set to begin on May 1, 2023, in the Superior Court of Gilmer County, but nine of the suspects entered guilty pleas prior to the trial.
The case remains open as authorities continue to search for several other defendants. Mario Alberto Barbosa-Juarez, Carolina Jazmin Rodriguez Ramirez and Maria Katherine Encarnacion all remain at large as of the last report. The GBI previously told AccessWDUN the remaining three suspects were believed to be in Mexico.