Federal prosecutor Denise Walker thought she was doing her job when she locked up members of a criminal enterprise operating out of the Raleigh area. However, she was forced to go into hiding after the crew’s boss, Reynaldo Calderon, 31, made threats against her life from his jail cell. Walker resigned after she learned that her superiors, U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker (no relation) and his top deputy John Bruce were exploring a reduction on Calderon’s life sentence for drug dealing and kidnapping to 30 years for his cooperation against one of his associates. They seemed to disregard the threats Calderon made prior to sentencing.
Reynaldo Calderon definitely got busy in Duplin County, NC. Calderon and some of his followers were busted after police sent a confidential informant their way. In 2011, the mole told an ATF agent that a group of men were doing home and business invasions in the area. He told authorities that the group sold guns that they stole and that Reynaldo Calderon was the leader. He also named Calderon’s brothers–Rosalio and Melchor Calderon–as participants. The informant had also heard the crew talk about committing a murder, but could not deduce who the victim was. At the behest of authorities, the informant bought guns from the group in December of that year and January 2012 behind Calderon’s rural home. After the second sale, Calderon told the informant that he desired to rob a stash house to come up on kilos of cocaine. Agents to took the opportunity to conceive a fictitious stash house, guarded by two armed men. The agents met with Calderon and associates to plan the robbery on the stash house that didn’t exist, telling them they could acquire 15 to 20 kilos in the heist. They could sell them for $30,000 a pop. Calderon and squad planned to kill the guards and snatch all the keys. The agents agreed to take five kilos as payment. The crew stayed at a Wilmington hotel for four days, preparing for the heist. On the day of, they drove to meet with the undercover agent to switch vehicles, but the whole crew–eight in total–were arrested by an ATF SWAT team, laying in wait.
While in custody, Calderon and associates were questioned about the killing the informant heard about. Crew member Carlos De La Rosa confessed that he, and six of the eight arrested had kidnapped and killed a man named Geniro Jamis. De La Rosa also directed authorities to where Jamis’ body was buried behind Calderon’s home. For the murder, Calderon was contracted by Luis Renteria, a major player in the Goldsboro drug game. Renteria was hot with Jamis over drug proceeds, claiming that his brother-in-law Jamis had stolen $150,000. He paid Calderon’s crew $10,000 to kidnap and torture Jamis. Calderon wanted something in the $20,000’s, but agreed after Renteria promised more work. On January 29, 2012, Calderon’s seven man crew caught up to Jamis, who was returning from a trip with his wife and three kids. Calderon and crew used blue lights in their truck to pull Jamis over. They forced Jamis and his son Israel, then aged 27, into the back of the truck at gunpoint, then blindfolded and tied up the kidnapped. After hitting Renteria’s line, the crew of seven dropped Israel off at a remote location. Jamis was taken into the woods as two of the captors went to bring Renteria. Renteria told Calderon that he wanted Jamis beaten to a pulp until he told them where the money was. Renteria then offered Calderon an additional $5,000 to kill his brother-in-law, who was beaten and burned with a torch. A six-foot -hole was also dug on the scene. Jamis eventually gave the names of men who might have the money. Nevertheless, Calderon shoved Jamis in the grave and his brother, Rosalio, blasted the detainee in the head with a shotgun. Reynaldo also shot Jamis with a hand gun. The grave was then filled in.
These are the reasons why Denise Walker got so low, after it was known that Calderon planned to have her killed. Authorities sent yet another informant at Calderon behind bars, and that informant documented three times the boss threatened harm or death against Walker. The informant also got Calderon to implicate himself in a plot to kill De La Rosa, the first to flip about the Jamis killing. In court, Walker told the court:
Your honor, in March of 2013 the marshals knocked on my office door and told me I had to leave. I was given 15 minutes to gather my belongings and then I had to go to my home and take belongings for an unknown period of time to disappear because of what Rey Calderon and his thug friends decided that they wanted to do to me.”
“During that time that I was away, which was over six weeks, I had to lie to my friends and family about where I was. I couldn’t tell them. I was going to put them in danger if they knew. Everywhere I went I was monitored. The Marshal Service worked 24 hours a day for that time frame to make sure that I was protected.”
“It is still important to me and my family. Our lives have been inexplicably changed because of the deranged mind of that guy [pointing to Calderon], because he wanted me dead, and as he said in his conversation with the confidential informant, ‘the bitch has me by the balls.’ That’s why he wanted me dead, because I did my job. That’s the only reason.
In a letter to the court during Calderon’s sentencing in June, Walker wrote:
I have a U.S. attorney who says: ‘Well, perhaps if you weren’t so aggressive, people would stop trying to kill you,’…The flippant responses from that office, including of the first assistant [Bruce] who says, ‘Well, your family is from this area — naming my hometown — surely they all have guns anyway.’
The judge ruled against a reduced sentence for Calderon.