Less than 48 hours after a Littleton man was shot to death, five people were arrested in three states. Court documents were released outlining a …
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Less than 48 hours after a Littleton man was shot to death, five
people were arrested in three states.
Court documents were released outlining a murder-for-hire plot
with connections to a Detroit drug trafficking operation.
Even before Joaquin Lucero-Carrillo was killed June 1 at his
apartment on Belleview Avenue, federal agents were on the trail of
the men they suspect are responsible. Agents had tapped into phone
calls in Michigan telling of a “job” that needed to be done in
The nature of that task would become evident to authorities only
after local police began a dogged investigation into the murder, a
relatively rare crime in Littleton.
“We take it pretty personal here at the PD that someone thinks
they can come into our city, kill someone and get away with it,”
said Lt. Sean Dugan of the Littleton Police Department.
On June 2, the Littleton police SWAT team and federal agents
raided a home in Sheridan. Jesus Daniel Medina-Meraz was arrested.
Four others were arrested that day across the country in connection
with the case.
In all, six men face charges that include conspiracy to travel
in interstate commerce with intent to commit murder.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents believe the man who
pulled the trigger was Franklin Gonzalo Sierra-Rodriguez, of the
Detroit area. He was arrested in Houston after agents tracked him
through the location of his cell phone.
Enrique Amaya is suspected of having hired Sierra-Rodriguez to
kill Lucero-Carrillo. Amaya was arrested in Detroit.
A report by Littleton police describes Lucero-Carrillo and the
men under investigation as “associates.”
Keeping tabs on suspects
Lucero-Carrillo, 42, was shot to death around 1 a.m. June 1 at
his apartment at 750 W. Belleview Ave.
Long before the killing, agents were monitoring Amaya’s phone
calls as they tracked suspected drug-related activities, according
to an arrest affidavit.
Phone records from May 14 detail a conversation between Amaya
and Franklin Baquedano, also named in the affidavit, that they
believe describes plans for Sierra-Rodriguez’s trip to
The two men did not specify what was to be done, but called it a
“job,” according to a partial transcript of their conversation. At
one point, Amaya is heard to say he cannot travel to Colorado.
“No, I can’t go because I have to stay here. I have to prove
that I am in town, dude.”
The men were looking for someone to drive Sierra-Rodriguez to
Colorado, agents say.
Later, a driver was found with the help of another man named in
the affidavit, Jesus De La Rosa-Ramirez. The trip would be worth
$1,000 to the transporter, with all expenses paid.
A transcript from May 29 reportedly shows two women, who have
not been named, had agreed to the deal.
De La Rosa-Ramirez: “But there’s going to be two of them. Her
sister is going too.”
Amaya: “All right. No problem. But there’s only going to be one
guy going with her.”
De La Rosa-Ramirez: “OK, as long as the guy doesn’t tell her
Amaya: “No, it’s OK. The guy won’t tell her anything.”
Shortly after, the three set off on the trip. Once in Colorado,
they reportedly stayed at a hotel in Lakewood.
In the early morning hours of June 1, as the long Memorial Day
weekend was coming to a close, there was a knock on the door of a
northeast Littleton apartment.
Lucero-Carrillo answered the door, words were exchanged, then
the suspect, now identified as Sierra-Rodriguez, began firing. The
suspect was holding the door open with his foot and continued to
fire through the door after the victim was able to close it,
Littleton police said.
Lucero-Carrillo was shot multiple times and died in a local
The gunman went down a stairwell, while continuing to shoot into
the apartment. Witnesses told police he pointed his gun at several
bystanders as he made his getaway into the passenger side of a
Phone records show, according to the documents, that
Sierra-Rodriguez was in the parking lot of Lucero-Carrillo’s
apartment building at 12:54 a.m. An hour and 15 minutes later,
Sierra-Rodriguez was traveling east on Interstate 70.
Agents tell of a phone conversation June 1 between Baquedano and
Amaya. Sierra-Rodriguez was to be instructed to pull the micro-chip
from his cell phone and destroy it so his whereabouts could not be
It would become apparent that did not happen.
Another conversation later in the day, between Amaya and
Medina-Meraz, the Sheridan man, addresses the shooting, agents
Amaya: “Oh. And what happened with this guy?”
Medina-Meraz: “What guy?”
Amaya: “With ‘El Cuarro’”?
Medina-Meraz: “Well, they killed him — didn’t I tell you in the
Amaya: “And how?”
Medina-Meraz: “Someone got into his apartment.”
On June 2, agents notified Houston police that
Sierra-Rodriguez’s cell phone location indicated he was in their
area. Sierra-Rodriguez and the two women were arrested that morning
at a hotel.
Local police at work
Medina-Meraz proved to be the person who tied the drug ring and
the murder together, authorities say. He was arrested after
Littleton police officers suspected he was not telling them the
Officers had interviewed him early on in the investigation after
discovering a connection between him and the victim through a
“He told us some stories to take us off path, like the victim
was having an extra-marital affair with a married woman,” Dugan
said. “We never had any supporting evidence that was true. He
wasn’t being completely forthright.”
Littleton officers soon learned the DEA had been investigating
Medina-Meraz and his vehicle and that he had ties to Detroit drug
Time is of the essence in a homicide case and Dugan said
officers worked around the clock during the first 24 hours.
“That first day, our guys were here until midnight,” he said.
“That first 24 hours is the best time to track people down, track
movements, witnesses’ memories are fresh. Those first few minutes
are so precious.”
Making arrests in three states less than 48 hours after the
murder was the result of cooperation between many different
agencies, Dugan said. That includes Littleton detectives, case
administrators, crime analysts, the Sheridan Police Department, the
District Attorney’s Office and the DEA.
Authorities have not released, or are still exploring, a motive
for the homicide.
Dugan said Lucero-Carrillo had lived in Littleton for five
years, but that the police department did not have any contacts on
“He’d been a citizen that stayed under the radar,” he said.
Medina-Meraz, Amaya, Sierra-Rodriguez and others had been under
surveillance since at least late 2009.
Getting back to normal
Three days after the murder, things were quiet in the courtyard
at Parkland Square Apartments, near the border with Englewood. The
front door of apartment 129, which on June 1 exhibited seven neon
rods marking bullet holes, had been replaced with a new
light-colored wooden door.
A pot with a white cross and purple ribbon had been placed next
to the door.
Daryl Wade, 27, who has lived at the apartment complex for a
month, said he did not feel any less safe there after the
“I just mind my own business,” Wade said. “I’m not worried
about someone coming to shoot me up. Obviously, they were
determined to find that guy.”
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