ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jacob Grijalva, 30, of Silver City, New Mexico
pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico on April 1 to
using a cellular telephone in the commission of murder-for-hire and
obstruction of justice.
In his plea agreement, Grijalva admitted trying to arrange
a murder-for-hire by telephone from Grant County, New Mexico on March
2, 2019. Grijalva admitted that he called a person he believed was a
hitman, but the person was actually an undercover federal agent.
Grijalva told the agent, “I just need a problem taken care of quick,
simple, nothing to trace back to me.” Grijalva asked about a price for
the murder. He offered to pay in cash and said he wanted to kill the
victim to avoid prosecution for a gun charge. Grijalva also told the
undercover agent he wanted the murder to happen when he was in Las Vegas
so that he would have an alibi for the crime.
On December 2, 2019, after Grijalva was arrested for
murder-for-hire, and while in custody, he solicited somebody else to
burn a phone in a grill because he wanted to use photographs of the
burned phone at trial, as evidence of his lack of intent to go through
with the murder.
Grijalva is currently in custody awaiting sentencing.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, he faces nine years in custody.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
and Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case with the
Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Silver City Police Department and the
Grant County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States
Attorneys Mark A. Saltman and Taylor Hartstein of the Las Cruces Branch
Office are prosecuting this case.