SAN DIEGO – Three people are facing charges involving an alleged conspiracy to kidnap and kill a business associate over a dispute involving real estate investment properties, most of which were leased to marijuana dispensaries, federal authorities in San Diego announced Tuesday.
Salam Razuki, Sylvia Gonzales and Elizabeth Juarez were arrested last week.
The federal complaint alleges that Razuki and Gonzales met with a confidential source last month and asked to arrange to kill one of their business associates, identified only as N.M. They allegedly said they had invested in multiple properties and business ventures with the associate and were now involved in a civil dispute over their assets, valued at about $40 million.
Razuki and Gonzales wanted the source to “shoot him in the face,” “to take him to Mexico and have him whacked” or kill him in some other way, according to the complaint, which alleges they provided the source with a picture of the intended victim.
In subsequent conversations earlier this month, Razuki and Gonzales, eventually joined by Juarez, reiterated their desire to have N.M., who they nicknamed “the midget,” taken to Mexico and killed, with Gonzales and Juarez stating they wanted to “put the turkey up to roast before Thanksgiving,” according to the complaint.
The defendants allegedly offered to pay $2,000, with $1,000 to be paid immediately. Gonzales went to a dispensary and returned with $1,000 cash, which the defendants gave to the source along with two addresses for N.M., federal prosecutors allege.
On or about Nov. 13, Gonzales allegedly called the source and indicated that she and Razuki would be with the intended victim in court at the San Diego Hall of Justice. Gonzales asked the source to join them in order to see N.M. in person, but the source stayed outside the building and waited for N.M. to exit, according to the complaint.
Gonzales allegedly took a photo of N.M. and sent it to the source, which she followed with a call to describe what N.M. was wearing. Gonzales later met with the source and identified the locations of two businesses N.M. manages and stated, “If they take him now, it’s gonna be good,” the complaint alleges.
Prosecutors allege that the source met with Razuki on Nov. 15 and stated, “I took care of it.”
Razuki allegedly replied, “So he will take care of it, or it’s done?” The source reportedly replied, “Done.”
Later in the conversation, the source asked whether Razuki wanted to see proof, and he allegedly responded, “No, I’m OK with it. I don’t want to see it.”
The source then requested the remainder of the agreed-upon payment and Razuki indicated Gonzales would take care of it, prosecutors allege.
In an interview with the FBI, N.M. said he had invested in real estate with Razuki in order to lease buildings to various entities, which were primarily marijuana dispensaries, according to federal prosecutors.
Detention hearings are scheduled Nov. 27 for Razuki and Juarez, but it was unclear when Gonzales would be in court.
All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim an individual and conspiracy to kidnap.