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Murder Indictments Returned Against Four Suspects in Seal’s Death

March 28, 1986

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Murder indictments have been returned against four men accused in the machine gun slaying of federal drug informant Barry Seal.

An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury concluded its investigation into Seal’s death by returning the indictments Thursday.

The four - Miguel Velez, 36, of Puerto Rico, Bernardo Antonio Vasquez, 32, of Miami, Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz, 33, of Colombia, and Jose Renteria-Campo, who was arrested as an illegal alien from Colombia - also were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Assistant District Attorney Prem Burns said the state will seek the death penalty against the four men.

Seal was shot to death Feb. 19 while sitting in his Cadillac in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge Salvation Army halfway house where he was locked up at night to serve a six-month sentence for drug charges.

Seal had been convicted in Florida and Louisiana on drug and banking charges. Don Campbell, a former U.S. attorney in Las Vegas, Nev., who successfully prosecuted a dozen men Seal had fingered, called the trafficker- tur ned-informant, ″the single most important witness in the United States dealing with international narcotics traffic.″

Seal had been scheduled to be the star witness against Jorge Ochoa, who is awaiting extraditon from Spain to Miami to stand trial on charges of operating one of the world’s largest cocaine rings. Ochoa was one of 11 people indicted in Miami on the basis of Seal’s undercover work.

The conspiracy indictment alleges that the men planned the killing starting Jan. 23. Burns said she considered the conspiracy a separate crime from the killing.

No date has been set for arraignment.

Federal authorities are holding two other men in the case, but neither has been charged in relation to the murder.

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