DNA evidence has positively identified a man who was shot and buried five years ago in an industrial park west of Salt Lake City, police announced Wednesday.
Officials unearthed the body of 41-year-old Jose Ignacio Valdez-Guzman, nicknamed “Nacho,” on Nov. 18.
Carlos Clemente Trevizo, who leased the plot of land where Valdez-Guzman’s body was found under 7 feet of wet dirt, was arrested in connection with the death.
Trevizo, 56, was charged Dec. 5 in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstructing justice and third-degree felony tampering with a witness. He was also charged with four counts of third-degree felony possession of a firearm by a restricted person. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 10.
A tip from a witness led police to the body, on property leased by Trevizo’s company, Los Lobos Paving and Construction, near 800 South and 2475 West in Salt Lake City.
The witness recently told police that during the summer of 2012, he saw the killing while he was working on a lot he rented from Trevizo, according to charging documents.
The witness said he heard yelling and gunshots, then saw an assault. He told police he saw Trevizo hold back Valdez-Guzman’s head, then then slit his throat, according to charging documents.
Trevizo noticed the witness, who told him he hadn’t seen anything. But Trevizo insisted on driving him home, “just to make sure,” and told the witness that what happened on the lot is what happens to people who “steal” or “snitch,” charges state.
Valdez-Guzman had set up a robbery of 2 pounds of methamphetamine and $1,800, Trevizo told the witness, charges state.
Trevizo continued to intimidate the witness — showing him various weapons and saying he would watch over the witness’s family when he left town — before dropping him off, according to charging documents.
Another witness told police he had bought large quantities of meth from Trevizo between 2009 and 2012, according to charging documents. Trevizo told this witness he had shot someone who tried to rob him.
Valdez-Guzman was reported missing on June 29, 2012, according to the charging documents.
The initial witness told police about the shooting on Nov. 18, 2017. While police excavated the property, a man who said he knew Trevizo arrived, asked what was going on and then left.
Police watched Trevizo and his residence while other officers dug for the body. Trevizo left his home at one point, drove around erratically, and when he returned police took him into custody, fearing he would flee.
Police believe Trevizo had access to “large amounts of cash” and was liquidating assets with the intent to move to Mexico, said the request for an arrest warrant. They found four firearms at Trevizo’s home.
During an interview before the body was found, Trevizo told police he had “never shot a man like that.” But “officers had not mentioned whether or not Mr. Valdez-Guzman was shot,” charges state.