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Metro says it did not release known killer on plea deal

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 6/26 3:15 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Metro is responding to the backlash about letting a known killer out of jail.

Raul "Sparks" Gonzales was released on a plea deal, and within a few weeks he admitted to killing again. Gonzales says he was released to work as an informant, but Metro says that's not the case.

Metro says he wasn't technically an informant. He was only being considered as one. And Metro says the push to release him wasn't Metro's call.

"Did someone make a mistake by releasing him? I can't sit here and tell you that something wasn't done correctly," said Metro Deputy Chief Al Salinas. Salinas admited there were problems with the release of this known killer, but he stopped short of accepting responsibility.

On December 20, Gonzales was released from prison after Judge David Barker was presented a document from the district attorney's office. The document contains the names of five metro detectives requesting the release. All five names, however, have been blacked out.

Within three weeks of his discharge, authorities say Gonzales managed to get a gun and commit murder, killing Eric Montoya.

"He was not a confidential informant, he was not signed up as a confidential informant, certainly not for Las Vegas Metro," Salinas said.

Gonzales told his arresting officers in January that he was acting as an informant for both the FBI and Metro.

Metro's claim is that he was being reviewed by a federal gang task force, of which Metro does play a part.

But the FBI issued a statement to News 3, saying it "was not involved in the release of Raul Gonzales from state custody, nor was he a source for the FBI." The statement also reads, "Please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for any further inquiries into this matter."

As for that document with the blacked out names, Metro says they didn't draft it. Metro said the district attorney's office can answer questions regarding the document.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson and the deputy DA who signed the document have both declined to comment.


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