Federal authorities have arrested and charged an East Palo Alto man in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme, according to a federal affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on June 26.
Ulices Cazarez allegedly sought to hire someone to kill an unidentified woman who was causing him "personal problems," according to an affidavit by Kristen Larsen, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Cazarez met on June 11 with a confidential informant who had been a business acquaintance for about 15 years, according to the affidavit. Cazarez allegedly wanted to "get rid of a bitch" and they agreed to use the term "fix the car" when referring to the murder-for-hire, the document states. Days before, on June 8, a mutual acquaintance told the informant that Cazares had $10,000 and he was looking to hire a hit man.
When the informant asked Cazarez who the victim was, he said he had done an Internet search trying to find a picture of her, but he was unsuccessful. Cazares seemed desperate and very serious, the informant stated.
The informant contacted the federal agent out of concern for the woman, according to the affidavit. Through a text message, the informant helped set up a meeting on June 12, between Cazarez and an undercover ATF agent who posed as a contract killer. During subsequent text exchanges, Cazarez asked if he could "get the price to fix my car before I meet him."
The informant responded it would cost $6,000 to $7,000. Cazarez also sent a message stating that "Our other friend is also trying to help me find someone to fix my car," according to the affidavit.
Cazarez, the informant and the ATF agent met in the parking lot of a building near the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco, the affidavit states. Cazarez entered the rear passenger-side of the agent's vehicle, and the agent asked if Cazarez has a "problem that needed to be handled." Cazarez replied he needed a "car fixed." The agent told Cazarez that he could fix his problem for $8,000. There was a difference in price for someone to be "tuned up" and for someone to be "eliminated completely," the agent said.
Cazarez replied that he just wanted a "car fixed." The agent replied that they needed to be clear about what they were discussing because there was no turning back after a decision was made. At one point Cazarez allegedly told the agent, "No, no ... I ain't got no second thoughts about anything."
They agreed on a few thousand dollars in advance. Cazarez agreed to get information for the agent regarding where he was going, what he would be looking for, and for the address of the intended victim. Cazarez allegedly told the agent he would obtain it in about two days, and he would talk to his friends about borrowing the money.
Outside of the car, Cazarez reportedly told the informant he was worried that the agent might be working for law enforcement because he knew of an associate who had previously been caught during a DEA operation. The informant told Cazarez that the agent had been highly recommended and the informant had known the agent for some time.
Cazarez told the informant that he was "paranoid like a mother --- ," according to the affidavit. Money was not the issue; it was a matter of trust, he allegedly said. Cazarez was skeptical of meeting individuals he did not know. He was reminded of the previous DEA arrest and had viewed the video footage from the sting operation. He wanted to have the agent raise his shirt, presumably to look for a transmitting device, the affidavit stated.
The informant told Cazarez a number of times that he/she was not interested in being in involved in the murder-for-hire scheme. Cazarez also reportedly said he was putting together an operation up north, and he hoped he could compensate the informant later if the informant stayed involved. The informant told the agent that he/she understood that Cazarez was referring to marijuana.
Cazarez and the informant had a cellphone conversation on June 23 that was recorded by law enforcement. Cazarez told the informant that he was "down south," meaning in Mexico. The informant offered to find another hit man, but Cazarez said he was going to have to find another way to "get this car fixed." Cazarez was going to go to Cuba for a while, where he has a house and spent eight months last year, according to the affidavit. He was arrested shortly after the call and appeared in federal court on Monday.
Cazarez is charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire. Penalties include 10-years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
He previously worked as an environmental health and safety manager at ABM facilities-management company. Company spokesman Charles Strong said Cazarez stopped working there in February.