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10/18/2016

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Federal jury convicts El Paso man tied to murder-for-hire plot against his wife

EL PASO, Texas — An El Paso man faces mandatory life in federal prison after a jury convicted him Monday for his role in a murder-for-hire plot against his wife.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.

Samuel Velasco Gurrola, 41, was convicted on 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 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 until November 2008, Velasco Gurrola conspired with his brother, Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola, and his sister, 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 Oct. 3, 2008, Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal, Velasco Gurrola’s father-in-law, was murdered in his house in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  And on Nov. 20, 2008, his daughter, Cinthia Sagredo Escobedo, was also murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Two days later, while traveling to her sister’s funeral, Ruth Sagredo Escobedo was ambushed and murdered.

Prior to jury selection, Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola, 30, pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute. Dalia Valencia, 44, pleaded guilty to 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, Dec. 6; Dalia Valencia, Dec.15; and Samuel Velasco Gurrola, Jan. 25, 2017. All three remain in federal custody pending sentencing.

The following agencies also participated in this investigation: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the FBI, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and the El Paso Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daphne Newaz and John Gibson, Western District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/29/2016