San Diego Man Arrested for Witness Tampering by Engaging in a Murder-for-Hire Scheme
|FBI San Diego March 02, 2012|
San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter announces the arrest of Steven Martinez, age 51, of San Diego, California, on federal charges of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512 (a) (1) (A)-witness tampering.
Martinez was arrested today at approximately 1:34 p.m. by FBI agents without incident in the area of 5800 Oberlin Drive, San Diego, California.
According to the complaint filed in this matter with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, Martinez is charged with witness tampering in connection with the matter titled: United States of America vs. Steven Martinez. The complaint alleges that on March 1, 2012, Martinez attempted to have two witnesses killed by engaging in a murder-for-hire scheme, with the intent to prevent the witnesses from attending and testifying in an official proceeding, namely, United States of America vs. Steven Martinez, criminal case number 11CR1445-WQH, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512 (a) (1) (A)-witness tampering.
According to the complaint, Martinez contacted an individual approximately two weeks ago and provided the individual with four packages of documents containing personal identifying information about separate individuals, including the two witnesses. Martinez also provided color photographs of the witnesses. Martinez offered to pay $100,000 in cash if the individual killed the two witnesses who were scheduled to testify against him. Martinez also discussed the use of firearms equipped with silencers.
On February 28, 2012, the individual contacted by Martinez reported the potential murder-for-hire scheme to the FBI. Over the next several days, FBI agents working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office collected sufficient evidence that resulted in the filing of witness tampering charges against Martinez.
Martinez will be booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and is expected to have his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Monday, March 5, 2012. This case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.
An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendant committed crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.