South Bay duo charged in alleged murder-for-hire plot, ATF says
Two South Bay residents were charged in federal court Monday in connection with a murder-for-hire plot that allegedly targeted the boyfriend of the daughter of one of the defendants, law enforcement officials said Monday.
Adelina Cristobal, 45, of Lawndale and Antonio Quevedo, 34, of Hawthorne were arrested Thursday and charged in U.S. District Court on Monday with using interstate commerce facilities -- a cellphone -- in connection with a murder for hire. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.
“The quick work of ATF and LAPD potentially saved the life of the targeted victim,” said Steven J. Bogdalek, special agent in charge of the ATF's Los Angeles Field Division. “Our No. 1 priority is to reduce violent crime; this case exemplifies our commitment to that mission."
The investigation began last Tuesday after Quevedo, whom federal authorities identified as the scheme's facilitator, allegedly asked an informant if he or someone he knew would be willing to carry out a killing "for a husband and wife in exchange for $5,000," according to a federal affidavit.
Lawyers for the two defendants could not immediately be reached for comment. They were expected to make their first appearance in a downtown federal courtroom Monday afternoon.
After the initial discussion, Quevedo arranged a meeting between the would-be assassin (an undercover agent) and the couple (Cristobal and her husband), at a parking lot at the Mar de Oro restaurant in Lawndale, the court document states.
The wife, identified as Cristobal, showed up for the meeting and then allegedly told the informant and the agent that she wanted the intended victim killed because he owed her money. He was romantically involved with her daughter and had threatened Cristobal's husband, causing him to have a minor stroke, according to court records.
The affidavit further states that Cristobal said her husband, identified as Carlos Hernandez, would provide money to pay for the hit and supplied the undercover agent with details about the intended target, including his name, physical description and age.
She then was asked whether she wanted the killing done quickly or slowly and whether she wanted the target told she had ordered the hit, the document states. Cristobal allegedly said yes to the request and asked the supposed assassin to tell the target before killing him: "This is so you remember not to get involved with my daughter and me."
Cristobal and the undercover agent settled on a price of $6,500, with a $500 deposit. They later discussed how the killing would be carried out.
"You guys aren't going to leave the body there?" Quevedo said, according to the affidavit. "No, we'll make it disappear," the undercover agent replied, suggesting they would take the remains to Tijuana. Quevedo also told him, "After you make it [the body] disappear, you need to get rid of your phone because my daughter is very good with phones."
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-- Andrew Blankstein