A Lakewood man who came to the attention of authorities after his roommate was shot and killed faces a minimum 15 years in prison after being convicted Thursday of federal drug crimes.
A jury deliberated for about five hours following a three-day trial before finding Juan Hidalgo-Mendoza guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Hidalgo-Mendoza, 33, was arrested in November 2012 after detectives investigating the shooting death of Jaime Diaz-Solis found heroin and an AK-47 style rifle in the apartment the men shared, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle reported.
A further search of the apartment in January 2013 turned up even more heroin and methamphetamine hidden the apartment walls, federal prosecutors said. In all, authorities seized 32 pounds of heroin and four pounds of meth from the apartment.
They also discovered more than $37,000 in cash in Hidalgo-Mendoza’s pickup the night Diaz-Solis died, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
No one has been charged in Diaz-Solis’ death. Hidalgo-Mendoza told investigators he was in a bedroom when he heard his roommate call for him just before a shot rang out.
Hildalgo-Mendoza found Diaz-Solis, 32, bleeding from a gunshot wound and yelled for a neighbor to call 911, police said.