The HPOU presented its Investigators of the Month honor to two sergeants and two detectives who successfully staged the “murder” of an HPD officer – complete with animal blood on the picture of proof – and arrested the suspect who wanted the officer killed.
Capt. Dwayne Ready and his Threat Investigation Unit of the Major Crimes Division determined that the murder threat against the officer in June was real and promptly developed a plan to furnish the suspect involved a phony hitman who would perform the task.
“The threat was credible,” Ready said. “The suspect wanted to hire a hitman to murder the officer for the purpose of drawing the heat away from his criminal enterprise.
“With the protection of our own as a priority, a safety plan was enacted to safeguard the officer throughout the investigation.”
Sgt. Terry Seagler and Sgt. Jason Aldrete supervised the workings of the confidential informant and surveillance side of the case while Detectives John Varela and Anny Vasquez focused on the reactive aspects of the case. Seagler and Aldrete worked at all hours for more than six weeks in undercover roles with the suspect. Varela and Vasquez followed up with their successful interrogation.
There were some high hurdles in this solicitation of capital murder case. They included malfunctioning equipment; the suspect’s desire to add more people to the scenario, a situation that would have changed the dynamics of HPD’s plan; use of a foreign language that required an interpreter; and dealing with secondary events like Ramadan timing.
But these sergeants and detectives were determined the plan would succeed, Ready told the August general membership meeting.
“Through it all the detectives were able to compose a credible narrative for the suspect to actively conspire, make a down payment, request proof of hit and further coordinate according to his liking.
The staging of the “murder” entailed bullet holes through a shirt worn by the officer, animal blood spread in the right places, pictures that would proof the hit had happened and the theft of the officer’s police ID.
“That ID and other evidence was presented to the suspect whereupon he agreed to make the final payment for the murder and was subsequently arrested,” Ready said.
“We get a lot of threats from arrested people, drunk people, idiots and the like that never turn into much,” the captain said. “this was not that case. This person was adamant about killing this officer.”