Federal Jury Convicts El Paso Man in Connection with Murder-For-Hire Plot
In El Paso, 41-year-old Samuel Velasco Gurrola faces mandatory life in federal prison after a jury convicted him this afternoon of his role in a murder-for-hire plot announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
Jurors convicted Gurrola of three counts of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and four counts of conspiracy to cause foreign travel for murder for hire. According to evidence presented in during trial, in 2008, Velasco Gurrola was married to Ruth Sagredo Escobedo. At the time, Velasco Gurrola was under indictment in El Paso County for aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.
Evidence further revealed that from September 2008 until November 2008, the defendant conspired with his brother, 30-year-old Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola and his sister, 44-year-old Dalia Valencia, and others to kill Sagredo while in Mexico in order to prevent her from testifying in the State case.
Testimony revealed that Samuel Velasco Gurrola arranged to have Sagredo’s father and sister killed in an attempt to lure Sagredo to Mexico. On October 3, 2008, Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal, Gurrola’s father-in-law, 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.
Prior to jury selection, Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute; Dalia Valencia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO statute. Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola and Dalia Valencia both face up to life in federal prison. Sentencings are scheduled as follows: Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola – December 6, 2016; Dalia Valencia – December 15, 2016; and, Sammy Velasco Gurrola -- January 25, 2017. All three remain in federal custody pending sentencing.
This investigation was conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the United States Marshals Service and the El Paso Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Daphne Newaz and John Gibson are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.