For Immediate Release
ATF and Pueblo Police Department Arrest Two Following Jail Murder-For-Hire Plot
DENVER – Reina Ashley Gonzales, age 28, of Pueblo, and Ricardo Estevan Suazo, age 26, who was is in the Pueblo County Detention Facility, have been charged by Criminal Complaint with Conspiracy to Commit a Murder-for-Hire facilitated by interstate commerce (land line phones and cell phones), the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Pueblo Police Department announced. Both defendants appeared before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon, where they were advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them. They are due back in federal court in Denver for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing on October 5, 2016. Pending that hearing, both will remain in federal custody.
According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, on September 9, 2016, an ATF Task Force Officer and Pueblo Police Department Detective learned from a former confidential informant that an inmate in the Pueblo County Detention Facility planned to hire an individual to kill a witness in his state criminal case. That inmate was later identified as Ricardo Estevan Suazo. Suazo had previously shot the murder target in the stomach, and was being held in custody for that crime. Suazo had unsuccessfully tried to hire another individual named “Crazy” to commit the murder.
The ATF Task Force Officer, working in an undercover capacity, talked by phone with Suazo, who instructed the agent to contact “his girl” on the outside for instructions on a job (the murder for hire). The undercover task force officer made contact with “the girl,” who turned out to be Reina Gonzales, who talked about hiring the undercover officer to kill the witness scheduled to testify against Suazo. Gonzales said they would pay the undercover $10,000 to pull off the job. Later, the offered amount changed a number of times to carry out the murder.
Eventually Gonzales disengaged the undercover officer, only to later to be directed by Suazo to help bond out another individual incarcerated in the Detention Center who would carry out the murder-for-hire. That individual did not bond out of the facility. Both Suazo and Gonzales were then charged with the murder-for-hire plot. This case is being investigated by the ATF and the Pueblo Police Department. The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca Weber and Caroline Friedman.
Anyone accused of committing a felony federal offense has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury. The charged contained in the complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.