Three San Diego Residents Sentenced for Conspiring to Kidnap a Former Business Associate with Intent to Intimidate or Murder
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California
SAN DIEGO – Salam Razuki, Sylvia Gonzales and Elizabeth Juarez were sentenced in federal court yesterday for conspiring to have a former business associate kidnapped. Razuki and Gonzales were sentenced to 84 months in prison, and Juarez was sentenced to 46 months in prison.
All three defendants pleaded guilty in November of 2022, admitting that they conspired in a plan to have the intended victim kidnapped and taken to Mexico to be intimidated or murdered. The victim had ongoing business disputes and civil litigation pending against Razuki and others, which could have resulted in significant monetary judgments. The person they solicited and eventually paid to commit this crime contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately, at which point a federal investigation was initiated. Through the cooperation of that individual, subsequent planning meetings were recorded, leading to the arrest of Razuki, Gonzales, and Juarez before the plan could be executed.
In pronouncing the sentence, the Honorable Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo noted the “extremely egregious” nature of the defendants’ plan to have the victim “brought to Mexico to disappear, whether that meant leaving him there, intimidating him there or, as the defendants have all pled to, anticipating him being killed there."
“Fortunately, due to a tip from a conscientious citizen, this cold, calculated and terrifying plan was thwarted,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The tables have been turned, and the justice system has held all perpetrators accountable.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and FBI agents for their excellent work on this case.
“These three defendants callously conspired to kidnap and use violence in order to resolve a business dispute, reducing the value of a person's life to a dollar figure,” said Stacey Moy, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “The tireless work of FBI personnel alongside our law enforcement partners in the DEA, the San Diego Police Department, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department has held these defendants accountable for this bad business. It is another example of our agencies’ collaborative commitment to public safety and our collective determination to bring criminals to justice.”
DEFENDANTS Case Number 18-cr-05260-CAB
Salam Razuki Age: 53 San Diego, CA
Sylvia Gonzales Age: 53 San Diego, CA
Elizabeth Juarez Age: 42 San Diego, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Kidnap, a Felony in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1201(c)
Maximum Penalty: Life imprisonment
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Drug Enforcement Administration
San Diego Police Department
San Diego Sheriff’s Office
This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section. Formed in 2019, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the District’s Coordinators for Project Safe Neighborhoods, Human Trafficking, and Project Safe Childhood. The VCHT Section also provides federal prosecutors to the downtown San Diego Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, the North County Gang Task Force, and the East County Gang Task Force.
Assistant U. S. Attorneys Fred Sheppard (619) 546-8237, Shital Thakkar (619) 546-8785 and Derek Ko (619) 546-7680
Updated February 10, 2023