By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Staff
A reputed drug cartel member was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for his role in the execution-style shooting of a California man left for dead in rural Kane County.
Manuel Ramirez, 27, of Aurora, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm in the May 29, 2009, shooting on Keslinger Road, near Elburn.
Prosecutors said Ramirez and another man told the 22-year-old victim they all were going out for food, but they really intended to kill him over a $20,000 drug debt.
“It was going to be payback,” Assistant Kane County State’s Attorney Pam Monaco said.
According to the charges, Ramirez and the shooter picked up the victim from an Aurora hotel and told him they were going out for dinner.
Instead, Ramirez drove to a remote stretch of Keslinger Road, near Pouley Road, where the victim was removed from the vehicle and shot in the throat and torso.
The man survived after a passing motorist found him bleeding profusely in the roadway and called police.
Monaco said authorities were unable to find the shooter, but believe he may have been murdered in California after the “drug deal gone bad” in Kane County. She said all three were involved with a drug cartel that had been doing business in the Aurora area.
By pleading guilty, Ramirez avoided a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years and had additional counts of attempted murder and armed violence, among other charges, dismissed.
Under state law, he must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, or a little more than five years. With credit for 376 days in the county jail, he could be released in less than four.
“It was a good result for him,” defense attorney Thomas Spencer said. “He hopes to be with his family in four or five years.”