Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted Marvin Argueta, 37, of El Salvador, of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the murder of Miguel Gamez, 31, of Newark.
Yesterday, following a trial before the Honorable Ronald D. Wigler, the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, the jury convicted Argueta of conspiracy to commit murder.
Argueta was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Julianne Bollettieri, on February 15, 2004, Argueta fatally shot Gamez and injured three other people at the La Caverna Bar on Mulberry Street in Newark around 1 a.m.
Prior to the shooting, Argueta got into an argument with Gamez’s brother. Argueta then left the bar, obtained a gun and returned with two co-conspirators, Luis Del Cid and Carlos Hernandez, before shooting Gamez, Gamez’s brother, and their spouses.
Argueta, who came to the United States in 2000, fled to El Salvador, his country of origin, immediately following the homicide.
On Nov. 12, 2004, an Essex County grand jury indicted Argueta, Del Cid and Hernandez, charging them with murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy and weapons offenses. A warrant was subsequently issued for Argueta for his failure to appear. The case remained cold against Argueta until he was located in El Salvador in 2017. In 2018, the Supreme Court of El Salvador granted extradition and Argueta was returned from El Salvador to New Jersey.
In 2005, Del Cid, a teenager who was waived up to adult court, pled guilty to conspiring with Argueta and Hernandez. In 2006, Hernandez also pled guilty to conspiracy. To date, the whereabouts of Del Cid and Hernandez are unknown.
Assistant Prosecutor Edwab said, “although this case happened over a decade ago and a number of witnesses, including the co-defendants, have either died or were unable to be located, this conviction was only possible because of those witnesses who were willing to come forward after 16 years of waiting as well as the law enforcement personnel who continued to pursue Argueta for his offenses.”
Argueta, who was approximately 21 at the time of the homicide, was out on bail for a first-degree robbery and second-degree conspiracy which he was previously arrested for in August of 2003.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 15. Argueta faces up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.