YAKIMA, Wash --- A Yakima man was sentenced Thursday to thirty years in prison for attempting to hire someone to kill his ex-girlfriend and trying to pay them with a pound of methamphetamine.

In March 2016, 32-year-old Gerardo Loreto was serving a state prison sentence for violating a protective order relating to his ex-girlfriend, according to a DOJ press release. Loreto is a Norteno gang member, who continued to violate the protective order against his ex-girlfriend while he was in prison.

Loreto’s intent towards his ex-girlfriend became more violent when he learned she was pregnant with someone else’s child, and he attempted to hire someone to kill her.

Loreto mailed a letter to an individual from the state prison facility detailing the ex-girlfriend’s name, where to find her, why he wanted her murdered and that he would pay a pound of methamphetamine in return for the murder.

Yakima Police Department Gang Unit detectives obtained the letter before any harm came to the ex-girlfriend.

On July 12, 2016, a federal indictment was filed, charging Loreto with use of the mail to commit murder for hire. Loreto was arrested on this charge the day he completed his state prison sentence. He was detained at the Yakima County Jail, where he continued to try and use his gang connections to try to hire someone to murder his ex-girlfriend, said the DOJ.

Law enforcement was able to foil his plan before any physical harm came to his ex-girlfriend.

On May 24, 2017, a jury found Loreto guilty of all the charges, according to the release.

“The United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring the safety of our community and aggressively prosecuting perpetrators of violence against women. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to seek lengthy sentences to remove dangerous gang members from our streets. In this case, the Yakima Police Department Gang Unit and Washington Department of Corrections worked together to identify the Loreto as a threat to public safety. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and Yakima Police Department followed through with completing this important investigation in a thorough and professional manner,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, Joseph Harrington.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Yakima Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Washington Department of Corrections, Yakima County Department of Corrections and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.