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West Texas woman sentenced for kidnapping, drug trafficking& money laundering

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EL PASO, Texas - A 44-year-old El Paso woman has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to acts of kidnapping, drug trafficking and money laundering.

According to federal authorities, Dalia Valencia admitted to stealing government property and conspiring to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute.

In addition to the prison terms, Valencia was ordered to pay more than $80,000 in restitution to the families of her victims and $49,897 to the Social Security Administration. A "money judgment" of $12.5 million is to be "paid jointly" with her brothers Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola and Samuel Velasco Gurrola.

Her brothers have been sentenced to life in federal prison for their roles in a murder-for-hire plot.

She must also forfeit to the government real estate properties that she owned in El Paso.

Here's a wrap-up of what happened according to ICE:

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.

The following agencies assisted with this investigation: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General, and the El Paso Police Department.

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

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