A former Texas elementary school teacher has gone on the lam after federal authorities charged in connection with an alleged drug trafficking, auto theft and money laundering operation led by her family members.
Monica Velasco, a 42-year-old El Paso resident, worked as an elementary school teacher for 14 years. She faces multiple charges including drug trafficking, money laundering, racketeering and kidnapping that took place in a foreign country.
Authorities arrested Velasco’s sister and two brothers for an alleged murder-for-hire plot that involved a man and his two daughters just south of the border in Ciudad Juárez.
Velasco quit her job at Thomas Manor Elementary School, where she worked as a teacher and became a fugitive from federal authorities.
She came close to getting nabbed at her mother’s home in early February but managed to flee just before law enforcement agents arrived. Her mother, identified as 63-year old Josefina Gurrola was arrested and charged with concealing a person from arrest.
Federal authorities believe Velasco is still in the El Paso area and has not fled south of the border into Mexico where she has family living.
“Everyone we have talked to said she is terrified of Mexico,” Scott Williams, deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service in El Paso, told the San Antonio Express-News.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that Velasco stored and handled illicit proceeds gained from her family’s criminal network, known as the Velasco Criminal Enterprise.
Velasco is believed to have collected and handed out money to members of the drug gang as well as transferred “ownership of property” and rented vehicles for the group.
Feds also accuse the former teacher of transferring ownership of a Cadillac Escalade to her brother, Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola, who is the reputed leader of the criminal enterprise in exchange for a kilo of cocaine.
Her other brother Samuel Velasco Gurrola and their Dalia Valencia were indicted in September for allegedly paying a hit man in 2008 to kill 69-year-old Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal of Juárez on Oct. 3, 2008, and his two daughters Cinthia Judith Sagredo Escobedo, 40, and Ruth Sagredo, who was married to Samuel.
A Federal grand jury indicted Velasco in October for conspiracy in the transferring of illicit money in connection with drug trafficking, auto theft, kidnapping, robbery and money laundering.