Assassin who killed drug informer in 1986 denied clemency

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 8:02 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It was nearly forty years ago when drug smuggler turned DEA informant Barry Seal was murdered in two bursts of machine gun fire outside a halfway house in Baton Rouge.

Three Colombians were indicted for his murder, and the case was moved to Lake Charles. The Colombian known as the trigger man had a clemency hearing on Monday.

Because of excessive publicity, the trial of the three Colombians was moved to Calcasieu Parish. Ultimately, they were all convicted of first-degree murder of Seal, a notorious drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel.

One of the three was Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz, who asked for clemency from the Louisiana Pardon and Parole Board. With the help of a translator, he told the board why his life sentence should be reduced.

“I take full responsibility, and I honestly regret that I took Mr. Barry Seal’s life,” he said. “The second reason is I would like this clemency board to consider my conduct record as proof that I am a rehabilitated offender and not a career criminal.”

“I am now 70 years old. The memory of this horrible crime committed keeps me in check again. I am sorry that I caused so much pain and suffering to the family of Barry Seal,” he said.

Prison officials described Quintero-Cruz’s conduct as exemplary.

“He’s very involved in the community project that we get requests from on the outside. He’s a tailor and he does a lot of our upholstery needs in addition to when COVID hit he was kind of the lead person as far as sewing masks for our inmates,” A woman discussing his conduct in prison said.

However, an attorney for the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office said releasing him would be a slap in the face to the justice system.

“He’s a threat to all individuals involved in the prosecution of this case as well as the safety of this community and the extent to which he was involved with a drug cartel that sent individuals to our country to assassinate another individual, we are just very concerned about this matter,” said a woman on the phone.

The four members on the board voted two in favor and two against, so Quintero-Cruz will remain in prison serving his life sentence.

Quintero-Cruz told the board that he wanted to be deported back to his home country of Colombia. And much of his family was there via Zoom for the hearing.

His co-defendant Miguel Velez died at Angola State Penitentiary in 2015.

At last word, another co-defendant, Bernardo Antonio Vasquez, was still serving his life sentence at David Wade Correctional Center.