Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2002 | 9:45 a.m.
A former Las Vegas woman suspected of hiring two men to rape and kill her former lover last year has been arrested in Mexico.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Frank Coumou said Marcela Whaley, 31, was arrested in her hometown of Durango within the last two weeks. Extradition proceedings are under way, he said.
"We had to give them assurances that we would not seek the death penalty, and we are waiting to see if the Mexican authorities will honor our request to extradite her," Coumou said.
The process could take a couple of months, Coumou said.
Whaley will be appointed an attorney upon her arrival in the United States.
Police allege Whaley hired Luis Barroso, 24, and Obed Marroquin, 27, to sexually assault and kill Tzatzi Sanchez, 27, because Sanchez left her to begin dating another woman -- a woman she herself had dated for nearly six years.
The men are alleged to have broken into Sanchez's home near Nellis Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue early Jan. 15, 2001. Two men in the home were tied up and numerous items were stole, police said.
During the hourlong incident, police allege, Barroso sexually assaulted Sanchez after tying her up and gagging her with her own hair and a scarf.
Police allege he then strangled her to death.
Barroso and Marroquin, who could receive the death penalty if convicted, are scheduled to go to trial Sept. 9. Their attorneys could not be reached for comment.
Whaley had last been seen Jan. 25, 2001, trying to enter the country from Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol officers deported her because she lied and said she was a U.S. citizen.
No warrant had been issued for her at that point.
Coumou said the search for Whaley was hampered by her use of numerous aliases.
"I feel good," Coumou said of Whaley's arrest. "At least I know we've finally got all three culprits involved in custody. Although Whaley wasn't there at the time of this heinous incident, she's the instigator. She put everything in motion."