Four Indicted for Murder-for-Hire Targeting DEA Task Force Officer
Jailed defendants pledged to pay $20,000 to “off” an agent involved in their meth case.
A four-person cabal has been charged with plotting a hit on a DEA task force officer, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
A federal grand jury indicted Manuel Garcia Gomez, 22, Jorge Humberto Velazco Larios, 27, Eva Denisse Gomez Garcia, 38, and Alicia Yuritzi Juarez Martinez, 31, for conspiracy to use interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire.
Mr. Gomez and Mr. Larios have been arrested and will make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Toliver this afternoon at 2 p.m. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Martinez remain fugitives and are believed to be in Mexico.
“The Justice Department will not stand for retaliatory violence against officers and agents,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “These defendants were plotting to murder a federal task force officer – a man who routinely risks his life to combat the scourge of drugs in our community. We are grateful to our partners at the DEA and FBI who worked tirelessly to keep the officer safe and help bring his would-be killers to justice.”
According to the indictment, unsealed today, Mr. Gomez – who was behind bars at Johnson County Jail on a methamphetamine charge – allegedly told another individual at the jail he wanted to “off” the DEA agent assigned to his case. He set the budget at $20,000: $5,000 up front and $15,000 following the hit.
In a subsequent phone call with an individual outside the jail, Mr. Gomez confirmed he wanted the agent murdered.
Mr. Gomez then called his girlfriend, Ms. Martinez, and his sister, Ms. Garcia, to arrange for delivery of the murder-for-hire fee. He advised them that the co-defendant in his drug case, Mr. Larios, would also contribute to the up-front payment.
Meanwhile, Mr. Larios, also behind bars, called an unindicted co-conspirator and asked him to deliver money to a workshop “so we can take care of something.”
On June 11, the unindicted co-conspirator, referred to in court documents by the nickname “Roberto,” made a $3,000 “down payment” for the murder of the agent. Five days later, he made an additional $2,000 payment on behalf of Mr. Gomez and Mr. Larios.
Mr. Gomez once again called his contact outside the jail. He described the DEA agent he wanted killed, then instructed the individual to call Ms. Martinez and Ms. Garcia, who he said had documents that could help the hit man figure out the name of the target. Mr. Gomez said the women were “badasses” who “know everything that is going on.”
Shortly thereafter, Ms. Garcia received a photo of DEA task force officer “T.H.” via the messaging app, WhatsApp. The following day, she flashed the image during a jailhouse video call with Mr. Gomez.
“Yes, that’s him,” Mr. Gomez told Ms. Garcia, smiling.
“Drug trafficking is inherently violent and traffickers will stop at nothing to protect their profits and their lifestyle,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division. “DEA agents and task force officers constantly put themselves in harm’s way to ensure these individuals are brought to justice. We appreciate our federal partners’ swift efforts to bring accountability to their nefarious intentions.”
"The Dallas Violent Crime Task Force is dedicated to protecting our citizens. This includes ensuring the safety of our law enforcement partners," said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. "The defendants wanted to harm a DEA task force officer and that is unacceptable. Fortunately, we were able to prevent a dangerous act from occurring and successfully apprehend a group of violent criminals."
An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, these defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison. (Had the hit been carried out as planned, they would have faced a possible death sentence or life imprisonment.)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, Violent Crime Task Force, conducted the investigation in close collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administrations’ Dallas Field Division. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Customs & Border Protection assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert is handling the prosecution.