by Photo courtesy of U.S. District Court

Three people were sentenced in federal court today to offenses related to a conspiracy to kidnap and kill a business associate over a dispute involving real estate properties. 

Salam Razuki, Sylvia Gonzales, and Elizabeth Juarez were arrested in early November 2018 for meeting with a confidential human source for the FBI disguised as a hitman to arrange the kidnapping and murder of their business associate, Ninus Malan in Mexico. 

A federal judge ordered Razuki and Gonzales to serve seven years in prison, while Juarez received a term of just under four years. According to a lawsuit filed by Malan, he and Razui had a business relationship fall apart which lead to a civil dispute involving more than $40 million in business assets. 

Federal Prosecutors said 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. Prosecutors say the informant was offered $2,000 for the job and
received a $1,000 down payment.

Razuki and Gonzales, eventually joined by Juarez, reiterated their desire to have Malan taken to Mexico and killed, with Gonzales and Juarez stating they wanted to “put the turkey up to roast before Thanksgiving” according to federal prosecutors. 

Prosecutors say the informant was offered $2,000 for the job and received a $1,000 down payment.

During a meeting with two of the defendants, prosecutors allege “Gonzales said she wanted to watch and wanted (the victim) to know that it had come from them, but Juarez cautioned Gonzales shouldn't watch because it would be gruesome and haunt her.”

According to prosecutors, Gonzales said during their meeting with the informant, "No, let's do it in Mexico because we can't be charged in the U.S. Let's do it in Mexico in case anything comes back to us,'' while Juarez said, “In Mexico, it's easier to make things go away. You pay for your freedom.''

The informant later met with Razuki and told him, “I took care of it'' and offered to show a picture of the victim. Razuki declined to see the picture, but directed the informant to meet with Gonzales for payment, prosecutors said.

Malan told the court that he continued to live in fear and paranoia after what happened. He participated in staging his own death, which Malan said is “still vivid in my mind” and “still haunts me”. 

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