Alexandria man sentenced to 45 years in prison for marijuana-related murder

An Alexandria man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for murdering another man in retaliation for robbing him of an ounce of marijuana and trying to convince a witness to lie for him to cover it up.

According to court documents, Melvin Palma Flores, 20, was a marijuana dealer who carried firearms for protection while dealing drugs.

Evidence presented at trial from Palma Flores’s social media accounts showed that Palma Flores posted images depicting the marijuana he sold, his cash proceeds and the multiple guns and ammunition that he used to protect his drugs and his money.

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On Oct. 25, 2019, the victim, X.B., arranged for his two associates to purchase marijuana from Palma Flores. In reality, X.B. intended for his associates to rob Palma Flores, court documents say.

When the associates showed up at Palma Flores’s home in Alexandria, one of them stole the marijuana from Palma Flores and brought it back to X.B.

Palma Flores then planned his retaliation against X.B. for setting up the robbery. Palma Flores, who was carrying a firearm, met with two of his associates and traveled to X.B.’s apartment complex in Alexandria.

X.B., who was unarmed, was sitting on the staircase outside of his apartment. Palma Flores discharged his firearm multiple times, striking X.B. in the right arm and in the top of the head, causing X.B.’s death.

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Following his arrest in February 2020, Palma Flores wrote a letter to his girlfriend instructing her to lie about the events that occurred on the night of the murder and to influence others to lie about the incident to law enforcement—specifically, to try to frame another person for the murder.

In December 2021, Palma Flores was convicted by a federal jury of first-degree murder by firearm in relation to drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and witness tampering.