Detroit man wins $10M suit in Mexican drug cartel murder; detective feared kingpin would attack family

Detroit Police Detective Moises Jimenez, left, Alexandre Ansari. 

Alexandre Ansari spent almost seven years in prison for a double murder that he didn't commit – because the Detroit detective feared a Mexican drug cartel would target his family and hid evidence from the prosecutor. Now, a jury has awarded Ansari $10 million.

Ansari was arrested for the 2012 murder of 15-year-old Ileana Cuevas and injured two others – her sister Rosalind Barley and Barley's boyfriend, Miguel Figueroa. In September of the following year, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Through his time behind bars, he maintained his innocence and, in 2018, the Conviction Integrity Unit took up his case and discovered that the detective had hidden evidence from the trial prosecutor. 

The reason Ansari was arrested is unbelievable, as the detective assigned to the case, Moises Jimenez, purposely left out information about the real killer with ties to a Mexican cartel. It's alleged he was fearful the cartel would go after family members in Mexico.

"It's almost something out of a TV show," said Steve Dolunt, retired DPD assistant chief, told FOX in 2022. "There may be people who don't believe this kind of thing happens in Detroit - but it does."

Dolunt worked with and knew Jimenez - who was not charged by the attorney general's office when Ansari was cleared. 

"I'm blown away," Dolunt said. "The guy was a hard charging detective and I feel bad for all parties."

The investigation that freed Ansari revealed that the shooting was a planned hit by a drug cartel leader because Barley and Figueroa stole "a large amount of heroin from him." The drug kingpin was Barley's ex-boyfriend and evidence that would have proven that Ansari wasn't involved was hidden from the prosecutor.

After being freed, Ansari hired the Mueller Law Firm to file suit against the city. The federal lawsuit went in front of a jury last week – which sided with Ansari and awarded him $10 million in damages.

"Today's verdict showed that Jimenez framed Mr. Ansari to protect his own relationship with the Mexican drug cartels and protect himself from harm if he implicated the drug lord in the murder. The verdict restores some of Mr. Ansari's dignity and will allow him to recover from he horrendous experience of being wrongfully convicted of a heinous crime he did not commit," the law firm said in a statement.

Jimenez is named in another lawsuit. This time filed by Kenneth Nixon, who was convicted in a firebombing and double murder of two children in 2005. In that case, Jimenez was named in a lawsuit that claimed they used a jailhouse informant – who was later found to be lying.

MORE: Wrongfully convicted Michigan man files $100M lawsuit after DNA clears him 3 decades later

His attorney says the Detroit Police Department relied on an inconsistent witness who fabricated evidence against him. The dishonest jailhouse informant would get a deal in exchange for his testimony.