SALT LAKE CITY – A Magna, Utah, man is charged with threatening to assault and murder a Department of Veterans Affairs police officer while he was engaged in the performance of his official duties and with intent to retaliate against the officer on account of the performance of his official duties. The officer’s teenage daughter found the threat in the victim’s mail box on June 7, 2020.
Ryan David Lucero, 33, is charged with one count of influencing a federal officer by threat in an indictment unsealed Wednesday morning. He was arrested Tuesday at a home in Magna. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspectors, U.S. Marshals Service and the Unified Police Department (UPD) executed the arrest warrant.
“Police officers and their families make great sacrifices to keep our communities safe. They have the right to live safely in their own homes, as we all do, and should not have to endure the threat that has been alleged in this indictment. We will bring to justice those who harm or threaten law enforcement officers in violation of federal law,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today.
The alleged threat to the officer came about a week after a May 30, 2020, riot in Salt Lake City destroyed a police vehicle, injured police officers, and damaged the Salt Lake City Police Department building. Prior to the Salt Lake City riot, the victim in this case wore his VA uniform to and from work. He retired from the UPD two years ago and parked his UPD patrol car in his drive way for many years.
The potential penalty for the charge in the indictment is 10 years in prison.
An initial appearance for Lucero has been set for Friday at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cecilia M. Romero. Based on current information, federal prosecutors will be seeking detention for Lucero based on a risk of flight. The victim and his family are also concerned about their safety if the defendant is released.
In a filing outlining the United States’ position regarding detention, prosecutors are asking the magistrate judge to consider the defendant’s use of aliases or false documents in previous situations. In one instance, the defendant provided a false name and date of birth to law enforcement to avoid detection of multiple arrest warrants. He has also failed to appear for court proceedings on several occasions in the Salt Lake valley.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in an indictment are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case. It is being investigated by inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents of the FBI.