While Arpaio was in federal custody, however, authorities charged him with taking part in a drug-related murder, an audacious carjacking that ended in the death of a drug courier named Elis Manuel Andrades Telleria.
According to prosecutors, on May 21, 2008, Arpaio, AKA Holland, and his 11 codefendants, a group that included one former and two current police officers, "agreed to conduct a pretext stop" of a Toyota pickup driven by the victim "to steal from him a load of cocaine."
After Police Officer Osvaldo Hernandez-Adorno, in uniform and driving his police vehicle, stopped the victim's truck, other defendants converged on the truck. They were dressed in black tactical uniforms and federal law enforcement hats, according to the indictment, in order to convince him that he was under arrest by federal agents. They allegedly pointed guns at him and relieved him of at least 14 kilos of cocaine.
The men then allegedly handcuffed Telleria, placed him in a Toyota Sequoia and drove him to an auto-body shop, where they grilled him about whether he had other narcotics or valuables. Arpaio followed behind in a third vehicle.
Some of the defendants, including Arpaio, then allegedly went to the victim's apartment, where they stole a gun, watches and two safe boxes, which they put in Arpaio's car.
Back at the auto-body shop, where Telleria still sat handcuffed in the back seat of the Sequoia, the defendants debated what to do with him. Four of them then got into the car "and asphyxiated Andrades Telleria using their own hands and a piece of rope."
According to the plea agreement, "co-defendants Michael Joseph Arpaio [and 2 others] were in the premises of the auto/body shop at the time the victim was killed but they did not participate in the murder. " Arpaio was also accused, along with a municipal police officer, of plotting the disposal of the body.
Arpaio pled guilty to one count of carjacking and is currently in federal custody awaiting sentencing. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Puerto Rico told ABC News no sentencing hearing is currently scheduled." She refused to comment on what type of sentence prosecutors are seeking, though because of his past criminal history Arpaio's offense carries a possible life sentence. Arpaio's court-appointed attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.