For Immediate Release
Two Men Sentenced for Gun Crimes Committed During the Robbery of a U.S. Postal Mail Carrier
SALT LAKE CITY, — Nathan Suaste, 20, of West Valley City, and Lorenzo Saavedra, 20 of Saratoga Springs, were each sentenced today after they pleaded guilty to using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Suaste was sentenced to 60 months. Saavedra was sentenced to 84 months. A third defendant, Exodus Matua, is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2024.
According to court documents, and admissions made during their change of plea hearing, in August 2022, Suaste, Saavedra and Matua targeted a U.S. Postal Mail Carrier with the intent to threaten and steal his arrow key. An arrow key is a Postal Service key used by USPS employees who deliver and pick up mail from mail receptacles. Suaste was the driving force behind the robbery and recruited Saavedra and Matua to participate. Saavedra, armed with a firearm provided by Suaste, confronted and pulled the mail carrier out of his mail truck. While detaching his arrow key, Matua, who was also armed with a firearm, punched the mail carrier in the face and pointed his firearm at the mail carrier. Suaste, Saavedra and Matua intended to use the stolen arrow key to open mail receptacles, steal mail belonging to third parties, and use the contents of the stolen mail – including checks and other financial instruments – to obtain money under false and fraudulent pretenses.
Matua will be sentenced March 18, 2024, before a U.S. District Court Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
“Mail carriers should never be worried about being held at gunpoint,” said U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute people who harm public servants. We will use every resource available to protect the United States mail system, its critical workforce, and the community.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service takes any acts of violence against our employees very seriously. U.S. Postal Inspectors relentlessly investigated this robbery until all responsible parties were identified and brought to justice. Attacks against our dedicated public servants will not be tolerated,” stated Dominique Giroux, Acting Inspector in Charge of the USPIS Phoenix Division.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Saratoga Police Department, Salt Lake City Police Department and the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Y. Hirata of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.