West Texas woman sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in RICO case
An El Paso woman was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Wednesday following her conviction for theft of government property and conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case.
Dalia Valencia, 44, pleaded guilty May 27, 2016, to theft of government property and conspiracy to violate the RICO statute, namely acts of kidnapping, drug trafficking and money laundering.
U.S. District Judge David Briones imposed a 120-month sentence on the theft of government property charge, and a 180-month sentence on the RICO charge. Both sentences are to run concurrently. In addition to the prison terms, Valencia was ordered to pay over $80,000 in restitution to the families of her victims, and $49,897 to the Social Security Administration. A money judgment for $12,480,000 is to be paid jointly with her brothers Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola and Samuel Velasco Gurrola.
Valencia is also to forfeit to the government real estate properties she owned in El Paso.
On March 23 and 24, 2017, Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola and Samuel Velasco Gurrola, respectively, were sentenced to life in federal prison for their roles in a murder-for-hire plot.
According to evidence presented during Samuel’s trial, in 2008, Samuel was married to Ruth Sagredo Escobedo. At the time, he 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, Samuel initiated a plot, with Dalia and Emmanuel’s help, to kill Sagredo while in Mexico in order to prevent her from testifying in the state case.
Testimony revealed that with Emmanuel’s help, Samuel also 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, Samuel’s father-in-law, was murdered in his house in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. On Nov. 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 and her friend Roberto Martinez were ambushed and murdered.
According to court records, Dalia, Emmanuel, and Samuel were part of a criminal organization that ran a cross-border car theft ring and imported and distributed tons of marijuana. The organization also engaged in an international kidnapping scheme whereby victims were kidnapped and held in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, while they and other criminal associates located in El Paso extorted ransom payment from the victims’ families.
Monica Velasco, the 43-year-old sister of Dalia, Emmanuel and Samuel, remains a fugitive in this case. Monica Velasco is charged with conspiracy to violate the RICO statute, two money laundering counts and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and import over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
If you have information on Monica Velasco’s whereabouts, contact the U.S. Marshals Service in El Paso at (915) 534-6779.