September 25, 2015

Federal Authorities Arrest Three El Paso Family Members on Federal Charges in Connection with Murder-for-Hire Plot

In El Paso, two brothers and a sister are in custody based on a federal grand jury indictment alleging a murder-for-hire plot announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.

The federal indictment, returned on Tuesday and unsealed today, charges El Paso residents Dalia Valencia, age 43, Samuel Velasco Gurrola, age 40, and Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola, age 29, with three counts of conspiracy to commit murder and three counts of conspiracy to cause foreign travel for murder for hire.

According to published reports, on October 3, 2008, Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal was murdered in his house in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. On November 20, 2008, Francisco’s daughter, Cinthia Sagredo Escobedo, was murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Two days later, while traveling to her sister Cinthia’s funeral, Ruth Sagredo Escobedo was ambushed and murdered.

According to the indictment, in September 2008, the defendants conspired to have the above mentioned people murdered. The indictment further alleges that from September 2008 until November 22, 2008, the defendants conspired to pay someone to travel from the United States into Mexico to carry out their murder plot or caused someone to travel into Mexico, intending that a murder be committed, and that money was exchanged as part of the conspiracy.

Upon conviction of the murder related charges, the defendants face up to life in federal prison.

Federal agents arrested Dalia Valencia and Samuel Velasco yesterday without incident. Emmanuel Velasco was already in custody on a separate federal indictment which charges Emmanuel, Samuel and others with various offenses, including drug and money laundering charges.

This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Daphne Newaz is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.