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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Three individuals arrested, charged with conspiracy to kidnap and kill business associate in Mexico

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 20, 2018

SAN DIEGO – Yesterday, federal authorities charged Salam Razuki, Sylvia Gonzales and Elizabeth Juarez with offenses related to a conspiracy to kidnap and kill a business associate over a dispute involving real estate investment properties, most of which were leased to marijuana dispensaries.  All three defendants were arrested last week.

According to the complaint, in October 2018, Salam Razuki and Sylvia Gonzales met with a Confidential Human Source and asked the source to arrange to kill one of their business associates, N.M. (name redacted for privacy reasons).  Razuki and Gonzales stated that they had invested in multiple properties and business ventures with N.M. and were now involved in a civil dispute over their assets. They wanted the source to “shoot him in the face,” “to take him to Mexico and have him whacked,” or kill him in some other way.  Razuki and Gonzales provided the source with a picture of N.M.

In subsequent conversations earlier this month, defendants Razuki and Gonzales, eventually joined by Elizabeth Juarez, reiterated their desire to have N.M., who they nicknamed “the midget,” taken to Mexico and killed, with Gonzales and Juarez stating they wanted to “put the turkey up to roast before Thanksgiving.”  Defendants offered to pay the source $2,000, with $1,000 to be paid immediately. Defendant Gonzales went to the Goldn Bloom Dispensary and returned with $1,000 cash, which defendants provided to the source along with two addresses for N.M.

The complaint further states that on or about November 13, 2018, Gonzales called the source and indicated that she and Razuki would be with N.M. in court at the Hall of Justice at 330 West Broadway in San Diego.  Gonzales asked the source to join them in order to see N.M. in person. The source declined going into the courtroom, but agreed to stand outside the building and wait for N.M. to exit. While inside the Hall of Justice, Gonzales took a picture of N.M. with her phone, sent it to the source and then called the source to describe what N.M. was wearing. Gonzales left the Hall of Justice and met with the source to further describe N.M. During this meeting, Gonzales identified the locations of two businesses N.M. manages and stated “if they take him now, it’s gunna be good.” Gonzales went back into the courthouse and provided updates as N.M. was departing the Hall of Justice, to ensure the source observed N.M. as he left.

According to the complaint, on November 15, 2018, the source met with Razuki and stated, “I took care of it.” Razuki replied, “So he will take care of it, or it’s done?” The source replied, “Done.” Razuki quickly changed the subject to discuss other business investments and pending loans. Later in the conversation, the source asked whether Razuki wanted to see proof. Razuki replied, “No, I'm ok with it. I don't want to see it.” The source then requested the remainder of the agreed-upon payment and Razuki indicated Gonzales would handle this.

The complaint reflects that defendants’ business dispute with N.M. involved approximately $40 million.  In an interview with FBI, N.M. advised that he had invested in real estate with Razuki in order to lease buildings to various entities, which were primarily marijuana dispensaries.

Detention hearings for defendants Salam Razuki and Elizabeth Juarez are scheduled to occur on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Fred Sheppard.

*The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

DEFENDANT                                                Case Number 18MJ5915                                         

Salam Razuki

Sylvia Gonzales

Elizabeth Juarez        

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Title 18, United States Code, Section 956 - Conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim an individual

Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201(c) - Conspiracy to kidnap

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Cindy Cipriani (619) 546-9608
Press Release Number: 
CAS18-1120-Razuki
Updated November 20, 2018