The Baltimore Post-Examiner has obtained from a confidential source a Las Vegas Metropolitan Department (LVMPD) email message from Vice Detective Eric Charaska to the victim identified by the Baltimore Post-Examiner in this story under the fictitious name of Linda Smith. We are protecting the real identity of the victim.
This email confirms the statements made by Gavin Vesp, the retired LVMPD police sergeant and now a private investigator who investigated the case that proved that the LVMPD had arrested and charged an innocent man, Jesus Carvajal.
On Thursday August 9, 2018 at 7:37 p.m. Detective Charaska sent the following email to Linda Smith: “Good evening, if you have a new number, I can reach you at, please let me know. I have another line-up for you to look at. So, I’ve attached the documents like last time. Thanks!”
On August 9, 2018 at 8:37 p.m. Linda Smith replied to Detective Charaska:
“Hi, same phone number. I found it Lol, and I’m 100% positive none of the men are him. Number 4 is close, did double take, but person of interest has not so full beard and more of a baby face compared to him.”
As we reported in the below story, Carvajal was arrested after the police raided his home in the early morning hours of August 9, 2018.
Later that evening, Charaska is notified by one of the victims, Linda Smith, that Carvajal was not the subject who attacked her.
This was another red flag that should have gone up even after Carvajal was arrested.
Apparently this was not a concern with the arresting officers, LVMPD Vice Detectives Eric Charaska and Opal Deeds, nor the supervision in the Vice unit.
LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrest report and other documents obtained by the Baltimore Post-Examiner from confidential sources raises questions about a criminal investigation conducted by members of the Vice unit that led to an August 9, 2018, early morning raid by the SWAT Team and the arrest of an innocent man on multiple felony charges.
That man, Jesus Carvajal, told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that his life was turned upside down after being falsely charged last year with impersonating a police officer, several counts of sexual assault and kidnapping.
After being incarcerated for two weeks in the Clark County Detention Center and then another two months on house arrest, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson dismissed the charges on October 22, 2018, stating that there was sufficient probable cause for Carvajal’s arrest, but they later determined that Carvajal was factually not guilty of the crimes.
Another man, Tommy Lee Provost was later charged with the crimes.
In simpler terms, the police arrested an innocent man.
In a March 1, 2019, Facebook post, Carvajal wrote, “They had arrested the actual person who had raped another victim the night before. He matched everything perfectly. Your probably saying how did they end up at your house? The guy arrested had used a phone number that was linked to my rental property a year before I moved in, Yep! That easy. So, what happens when you’re wrongfully accused? You lose your job, you lose your car, your credit, respect of your peers, your dignity, your community, and overall your mental health. What do you get? You get a whoops you look like him, attorney bills, people who question you, difficulty finding a job, etc.
Carvajal told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that he has never received an apology from either the LVMPD or the District Attorney’s Office.
LVMPD announces suspect arrested in Sexual Assault case
On August 10, 2018 the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Office of Public Information, announced the following:
“Beginning on June 28, 2018, detectives from the LVMPD Gang/Vice Bureau received four reports of a male impersonating a police officer to coerce victims into performing sexual acts. During the course of this investigation, detectives identified 34-year-old Jesus Carvajal as the suspect in these events.
The investigation revealed, Carvajal would approach the victims near downtown Las Vegas to participate in sexual acts. If a female got into his vehicle or discussed a price for a sexual act, he would identify himself as an undercover officer. The suspect would then threaten the victims with arrest if they did not perform the sexual acts he requested. Carvajal was described as having a badge, a gun, handcuffs, a knife and a radio. On August 9, 2018, detectives arrested Carvajal and booked him into the Clark County Detention Center where he currently faces charges of: Sexual assault with deadly weapon; Sexual assault; Attempt sexual assault with deadly weapon; Kidnap (x3); and False Impersonation of Public Officer (x3). A booking photo of Carvajal accompanies this release. Detectives believe there might be additional victims.”
THE ARREST REPORT — CIRCUMSTANCES OF ARREST
The Baltimore Post-Examiner has changed the names of the victims and we have redacted personal identifiers for confidentiality. Linda Smith, Jane Doe, Suzie Brown and Ashley White are fictitious names.
She solicited an undercover police officer
On June 28th, 2018, Detective E. Charaska P#13212 and Detective 0. Deeds P# 14750, received information (from) a female who claimed she had performed fellatio on a male who identified himself as an undercover police officer. The female was identified as Linda Smith, date of birth [redacted]. Detective Charaska and Detective Deeds spoke with Smith on the phone as she lives out of state. A digitally recorded interview was conducted with Smith after contained her consent. Below is a summary of that interview and is not verbatim, unless quoted.
Smith was working as a prostitute in the downtown Las Vegas area between April 1st, 2018 and May 31st, 2018. Smith posted an online advertisement offering sexual service for a fee and received a response from a male who set up an appointment to meet with her. The male called Smith several times from the phone number (702) 355-4151 and told her he was waiting at a nearby 7-11 gas station. Smith met the male who verbally identified himself as “Lee”. Lee and Smith agreed upon a price for a sexual act, however, Smith was unable to recall the amount or act. Lee told Smith she had “solicited an undercover Metro Police officer” and he was working with his squad to identify “pimps” in the area. Lee questioned Smith and asked who her “pimp” was and said that if she did not tell him, he would arrest her. Smith provided Lee with a name she made up and Lee asked if she was going to be in danger if he let her go. Lee said his main focus was to target pimps and he was concerned she would be in danger.
Prior to dropping Smith off, Lee told her to save his number as “Lee” and to call him if she was ever in any danger and he would also tell her if Vice detectives were working in her area. Smith contacted Lee an unknown time later and came to her room at the Super 8 Motel, 1213 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89104. Once in her room, Lee removed a set of handcuffs, a badge, a gun, and a radio, from his waistband, placing them on the nightstand. Lee then told Smith she had to perform fellatio on him, or he was going to take her to jail. Smith complied and performed fellatio on Lee due to fear of being taken to jail.
Shortly after that incident, Smith changed her phone number and has not had contact with Lee since. She described his vehicle as a dark Dodge charger and recalled hearing a police radio while she was in the vehicle. Smith described Lee as a clean-cut Hispanic male, approximately 5’8″ in height. Smith told Detective Deeds and Detective Charaska she has a friend who has had a similar incident with a male who said he was an undercover Vice detective and identified himself as Lee. Smith did not want to provide her friend’s information to Detective Charaska and Detective Deeds but stated Lee had forced her friend to have sexual intercourse with him, without a condom, or he would arrest her.
Suspect identified himself as a police officer
On August 7th, 2018, at approximately 0430 hours, Jane Doe, date of birth [redacted], called 911 to report a male had attempted to sexually assault her. Detective J. Santiago P#4948 responded and conducted a digitally recorded interview. Below is a summary of the interview and is not verbatim, unless quoted.
Doe was working as a prostitute in the area of Tropicana Boulevard and Polaris Avenue, Las Vegas Nevada, 89118. Doe was approached by an unknown male in a silver Dodge Charger. The driver agreed to pay Doe one hundred and twenty dollars for sexual intercourse and Doe got into the vehicle. The male identified himself as “Lee” and drove to the rear of 4525 Hacienda, then parked behind the business. Lee stated he chose this area because he knew there was no security there.
Once parked, both Lee and Doe got into the backseat of the vehicle and Lee told Doe he wanted to have sex without a condom. Doe refused and Lee pulled up his shirt, as if he was retrieving money from his pocket. Once Lee’s shirt was lifted, Doe observed the handle of a knife tucked into his waistband. Lee identified himself as a police officer and told Doe she was under arrest. Doe jumped out of the vehicle and to the front of the apartment complex yelling for help. Lee briefly ran after her but got back into his vehicle and drove eastbound through the business complex. Responding patrol officers were not able to locate the vehicle. Doe described Lee as a dark-skinned Hispanic or Hawaiian male having short hair and a well-manicured beard.
On August 7th, 2018, Detective Deeds and Detective Charaska received information from Officer J. Kirkegard P#14138 that two females reported similar incidents to him. The first female was identified Suzie Brown and was brought to Downtown Area Command for an interview. The second female was identified as Ashley White and was in custody at Las Vegas City Jail. Detective Deeds and Detective Charaska conducted a digitally recorded interview with Brown, date of birth [redacted] at Downtown Area Command. Below is a summary of the interview and is not verbatim, unless quoted.
Lee told her he was an undercover Vice detective
On or about February 20th, 2018, Brown was walking home from the Fifth Street Pub, located at 906 South 6th Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101. She was approached by an unknown male driving a silver Dodge Charger. The male offered her a ride, and due to the rainy weather, Brown accepted. The male identified himself as “Lee” and asked if she would have sexual intercourse with him for money. Brown declined and Lee told her he was an undercover Vice detective. Lee told Brown he had probable cause to arrest her and she needed to “work for him” to avoid arrest. Lee told Brown to save his number in her phone under the name “Lee” and provided a phone number of (702)355-4151. Lee said Brown needed to answer the phone whenever he called and do what he says. Brown agreed and was able to exit the vehicle. Brown received one text message from Lee later that night which read, “Are you sure you’re ok?” She has not had contact with him since.
Brown described Lee as a Hispanic or Filipino male, approximately thirty years old. Brown said he had a muscular build with a short mustache and goatee. Brown still had Lee’s phone number saved in her phone and was able to show detectives. The contact read, “Lee 702-355-4151.”
He was an undercover detective and worked “human trafficking”
Detective Deeds and Detective Charaska conducted a digitally recorded interview of Ashley White, date of birth [redacted], at Las Vegas City Jail. Below is a summary of the interview and is not verbatim unless quoted.
Between April 1st, 2018 and April 30th, 2018, White was working as a prostitute near the El Cortez Hotel and Casino, 651 East Ogden Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101. White was approached by an unknown male driving a dark blue Dodge Charger and was offered a ride. White got into the vehicle and the driver introduced himself as “Lee”. Lee and White agreed upon a price of sixty dollars for sexual intercourse. Lee drove to the area of 6th Street and Bonneville Avenue. Once parked, Lee told White he was an undercover detective and worked “human trafficking”. Lee told White he would not arrest her if she had sexual intercourse with him. Lee had vaginal sexual intercourse with White, without a condom, and ejaculated inside her. Once Lee was finished, Lee provided White his phone number, and told her he would take her to jail if she did not answer his calls. Since the assault, Lee has called White several times, but she did not answer. White recalled seeing Lee again between the dates of May 1, 2018 and May 19, 2018 in the downtown area. Lee was driving the same vehicle and attempted to flag White down, but she was able to leave the area. White described Lee as a Hispanic male with a muscular build and well-groomed.
On August 8th, 2018, Detective Charaska received insurance claims information form LVMPD Investigative Specialist, K. Reddmann P# 6478. An insurance claim was filed with homeowners insurance at the address of [redacted], Las Vegas, NV. A records check returned that a Dodge Challenger bearing Nevada registration [redacted] and a Dodge Caliber [redacted] bearing Nevada registration [redacted]. A records check on the Caliber returned the registered owner as Carvajal, Jesus Eduardo, Date of Birth [redacted], Social Security Number [redacted], ID# 6054693. Carvajal has a Nevada Driver’s License, which is [redacted] which has a listed address of [redacted] Las Vegas, NV. A mug shot of Carvajal was obtained and he matched the general description of “Lee.”
Surveillance was started at [redacted], Las Vegas, NV., at approximately 2200 hours on August 8, 2018. The Dodge Caliber belonging to Carvajal was located in the driveway of the residence.
Photo lineups conducted
A photo lineup was conducted with victim, Jane Doe, by Detectives G. Flores and J. Santiago. After being read the photo line-up witness instructions, Doe picked Carvajal out of the lineup with 100% certainty. Social Media was queried for Carvajal and photographs were located of him holding various firearms while wearing police-style body armor and vest.
A second photo line-up was conducted with victim, Ashley White by Detectives J. Gatus and C. Schallipp at Las Vegas City Jail, after being read the photo line-up witness instructions, White picked Carvajal out of the lineup with 80% certainty.
LVMPD SWAT and Vice Detectives raid Carvajal’s home
On August 9th, 2018, at 0042 hours, a telephonic search warrant was obtained for [redacted address], Las Vegas, NV., from The Honorable Judge Cruz which was served by LVMPD SWAT. During service of the warrant, Carvajal was taken into custody, 1 firearm was recovered, 1 cell phone, and possessory information was obtained. Also located inside the residence was [redacted], DOB [redacted], who asked detectives multiple times what was happening?
Detective Gatus told [redacted] she had to wait to speak with the case agent after SWAT finished clearing her residence. [Redacted] then stated, “What is he (Carvajal) a rape-er?”.
(Editors Note: For more on Detective Justine Gatus read our October 20, 2019 story, ‘Vice Detective who outed Las Vegas judge transferred to Homicide.’)
A recorded interview was conducted with [redacted] by Detective Deeds and Detective Charaska. During the interview [redacted] stated she does not think Carvajal, her boyfriend, was involved in anything illegal, however, she is a deep sleeper and wouldn’t know if he left at night after she fell asleep.
According to the LVMPD Arrest Report for Jesus Carvajal, the report was approved by Lt. William Matchko. Readers may remember his name from our January 3, 2019 article, ‘ Las Vegas Metro Police Lt. William Matchko describes why he moved Paddock’s body.’
Excerpts from Jesus Carvajal’s interview with the Baltimore Post-Examiner
Carvajal: On August 9, 2018 at 2:30 in the morning, I was woken up by my girlfriend. She was shaking me up, my dog, my German Shepard was on top of my leg. What’s going on there, they’re evacuating the neighborhood. She heard that. I just hear loud explosions in front of my home and so I immediately…. I believe in the Second Amendment… I train on home defense to protect my family so, the first thing I did was grab my firearm and my German Shepard ran out. As soon as I get to the hallway all my windows are engulfed in light, I could hear more like explosions in the front of my home, commotion, like something you could hear, like you see in those movies when, like a zombie apocalypse; it was just pretty mind-boggling you could say. I was still trying to catch my bearings, I was in a deep sleep, I went into one of the rooms to look out, and as soon as I peeked out I just heard even louder screaming, the light kind of focused when I was peeking out the window.
Carvajal: Figured out it was Metro SWAT. I put my firearm away, put my dog away, I was in my home in my underwear. They verified it was me, put me in zip ties and for about two hours they turned the house upside down. I was trying to ask what was going on and the detective that had me in custody was rude, told me he didn’t have to effing tell me anything, to shut up. I kept saying that I was a supervisor for Amazon and that my job was crucial, that I didn’t know why they had me. Next thing you know, the detective shows up, asks me where was my whereabouts that Tuesday. I told him that I was a supervisor for Amazon, the first thing I do in the morning was that I feed my two German Shepherds that I rescued, and that I immediately get dressed and race down to the Amazon fulfillment center. He’s smirking and tells me I’m being arrested for impersonating a police officer, sexual assault, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and I immediately laughed, and I was like are you kidding me? You guys could have accused me of something else, that, and he just looked at me and I continued to laugh and he said this is a serious matter and I said I know it is but all I could do is laugh at what you’re trying to say. I said this was nonsense, the DNA is going to clear me.
Carvajal: I told him, you know what, could I at least get clothes on, I’m in my underwear. They didn’t care. They locked me into CCDC [Clark County Detention Center] in my underwear. It was just totally humiliating.
Carvajal: The following day my face was plastered nationwide, even in Mexico. My niece who I adore, saw me on TV, and I was destroyed. Everyone turned their back on me, I even had issues with some family members. I lost my employment, lost my vehicle, I was left in just a really bad shape.
Carvajal: We figured out their probable cause was just, to this day I can’t believe a judge would sign a warrant of the probable cause that they had. Just because I am a law-abiding citizen, I believe in the Second Amendment, I have firearms, I do product reviews for firearms and gear, and I used to play professional paintball, so I’m on social media, I put posts on what I do, it’s not illegal. So they used that against me, and nothing tied to me, really nothing did. For some reason, they made it stick, even though it was amazingly just false. Even the judge realized it, it was a really big issue in regards to the investigation.
Carvajal: Metro didn’t want to follow up any of the other investigators leads. They did nothing but just accuse me and put me in danger in jail as well because no one really knew my charges in jail. I was trying to keep a really low profile because I was in general population and when they immediately started calling me those names in jail, even the inmates next to me told me that I have to prepare to fend for my life. You know the judge let me out on house arrest. During that time we found out more information that also even proved that I was innocent. Cameras from Amazon. The fact that my vehicle didn’t match the description. I was taller and bigger than the person they were looking for. So many things that proved I was innocent, just wasn’t enough. The DA withheld information that we got 50 days later that showed that I was innocent.
Carvajal: One of the main victims, I just keep saying it was one of those Denzel Washington movies where there’s a big twist, you know the person is being wrongfully accused, running for his life. I feel that way and I haven’t got to the point where I can get complete justice.
Carvajal: I was exonerated after they got another person. It was funny because I got the information they withheld. On October 19th , on October 20th they got the person that took over these charges. October 21st the DA shows up, just drops the case, doesn’t say why. I was still under house arrest. I didn’t find out until the RJ [Las Vegas Review-Journal] published an article saying that they got another guy, but they tried to kind of cover it up so not to make it seem like both of our cases was the same.
Carvajal: After that, I tried to file a motion against the DA for wrongful prosecution. My attorney wasn’t on board. My attorney and private investigator were trying to help me out, they were really emotional about all that was done to me. We were trying to push for bills. Steve Wolfson decided to have a meeting , a private meeting with my attorney and the private investigator right after we filed the motion, and after two meetings all of that went down the gutter. My attorney, his whole demeanor changed. My private investigator told me you know, just be happy your free, don’t, you shouldn’t press charges…
BPE: OK, hang on a second. Who was your attorney at the time who was handling this for you?
Carvajal: My attorney was Lance Hendron.
BPE: And who was the private investigator?
Carvajal: Gavin Vesp.
BPE: He’s retired Metro. He’s a retired Metro sergeant.
Carvajal: Yes. He served 20years and he’s a retired Metro officer, your correct.
BPE: And he handled the private investigation for your attorney to try to get you exonerated from the false arrest?
BPE: OK. , and he’s the one that told you just basically, drop it?
Carvajal: Yeah, he told me you know what, just be, his exact words, he told me, just be happy that your free, you know of course this is something that is really horrible, that you should just move to another state, I feel like you shouldn’t sue because this will affect a lot of good officers. As soon as he told me that something happened at that meeting. I don’t know what the contents of that meeting, what happened in that meeting. It took me a few days to try to get in contact with my attorney to find out what happened. We had a meeting after that and you know, it was just, it felt like something happened that shouldn’t have happened in that meeting. It went from, I read that motion a hundred times. Other people have read it and said while this is a well put motion, but they told me that it would go away. That the DA had the best attorneys out there, that they were going to fight it to the “T”, that they actually did have probable cause on me. I wanted to seal my record. I was told that I couldn’t seal my record because I had a DUI. I was sleeping in my vehicle and I got a DUI back in March, before all of this. I feel that the reason why it was easy for me to become a target was because of me being on their system because of that DUI.
Carvajal: They told me that because I had that case, they wouldn’t allow me to seal my record unless I drop the motion. I told my attorney, if I do move forward with this motion because I’m broke, I shouldn’t have to pay for this, I mean I almost lost the home I’m living in right now. If I move forward with this motion, would I be able to, if I win afterward, would I still be able to seal my record, I don’t know. It just felt like we, I sold the fact that I wouldn’t win and it was easier for me to just drop the motion because that’s the only way I wanted to seal my record in there, that was the only option I had. My arms were tied, that felt like it was the only option I had, which in reality it was. So on February 13th  I dropped the motion.
Carvajal: That same night I got pulled over by a police officer. I told the officer, please don’t call for back-up and the first thing he did was after running me, he put his hand on his firearm and I had both of my arms outside, scared, and he was like you have a long rap-sheet.
BPE: Wow. And this was after you were exonerated?
Carvajal: This is the thing. After I was exonerated, they didn’t immediately erase that off my record. It took eight months because I really couldn’t get it expunged. They didn’t expunge my record, they only sealed it. From the time I got exonerated which was, I got exonerated October 21st  when they dropped the charges, until recently about two or three months ago, I still had that in my record. So any time I get pulled over, they will see that. Even though it says dismissed, what is going to go through the mind of an officer when he sees all those charges. These officers will call for backup or have their hands on their firearms. I carry, and in training when they tell you someone reaches for their firearm, it could be considered a threat. You can’t do that with police officers, you don’t know if they’re friendly or not, they’re coming toward me with their hands on their firearm, because their minds have been changed because of those charges. It was always that fear. I haven’t felt that way since I lived in LA, to be honest with you. Now I feel like that almost every day I pass by an officer because I’m thinking he could get behind me. Even though my record is sealed now, police officers have access to the federal database. They go into the federal database; it’s still going to pull. That’s what people don’t understand. It’s just hidden, it’s not erased. Me being an innocent man, why should that even be lingering around.
BPE: You were completely exonerated, you had nothing to do at all with these charges of impersonating a police officer and sexual assault and all of that stuff that they originally thought you did. There was another guy that was arrested and he’s facing those charges. It was not you. You had nothing to do with that. I just wanted to get that on the record. The private investigator, the ex-cop, told you that you should move out of state, because of what they did? That you should move out of Nevada, would be better for you?
Carvajal: He said I should move on, just leave. Yeah, that’s what he told me. My attorney told me Steve Wolfson approached him and said hey, I saw the motion, I do believe that Jesus needs to be compensated, let’s have a chat. So, because he said that I’m thinking wow, someone’s actually saw what they did to me, I’m thinking the DA is finally going to do something right and I’m going to get compensated. Seriously, I wanted an apology, I wanted my name to be cleared and I wanted them to pay for just the damages, which was attorney’s fees, give me my job back and I would have been perfectly fine. That’s really what I wanted but now it’s a year later and I’m still feeling humiliated, I never, seriously, when people say they’re alone, now I feel the true definition of being alone, the true definition of being hurt. I live through this every single day. It’s been a year; I’ve been to counseling. I tell people, they say they don’t know how they would handle this; I don’t know how I’m handling this. My personal relationship, it’s been torn apart, I don’t have anyone. All the friendships that I established here in town; gone.
BPE: Because why do you think that is?
Carvajal: Well because the media, the thing is that, I always say this, people kind of look at me like how they looked at OJ. OJ was exonerated, cleared, but in the back of everyone’s head they think he did it. So even though I was cleared people still give me that look. The thing is because I was part of the firearms community, they don’t want to be associated with anyone like me. That’s just the honest truth.
BPE: I want to make it clear for the readers when I do the story. You were 100 percent exonerated. You were not the person who did those crimes. The reports that I’m looking at right now were flimsy in the first place. Even for the probable cause, from what I see. I see some of the victims who described the suspect as about 5’8” and the police report that I have says your about 6’2”. Those different descriptions of the vehicles that don’t match the vehicles you had. So, I have a lot of questions on that aspect of the investigation.
Carvajal: Even if you look at the six-pack, which is the [photo] lineup. The victim said it was dark-skinned Latino or Hawaiian or a light-skinned African-American. In the lineup, I’m the only dark-skinned Latino with a beard and mustache. One of the victims said the perp didn’t have a beard and mustache. But they just picked me out because of the color of my skin and something off my eyes. There’s a lot of questionable stuff there, did anybody even read it before they destroyed my life.
BPE: I understand.
Carvajal: It’s crazy.
BPE: The night SWAT came in, did they actually break your door down, or did you open up the door?
Carvajal: I opened up the door. I have one of those security gates. I think if they would have broken in the house, I probably would have defended myself and I would be dead, if I don’t know who’s out there, to be completely honest with you. If they probably would have broken into my home, I probably would have been dead if I didn’t know who they are. I put my firearm on the floor once I realized it was them and then I went out on my own accord. I opened the gate, made sure my hands were sticking completely out as ai was opening the door, so they wouldn’t shoot me because there were shields and AR-15’s pointed at my head. I turned my back toward them, and I just walked with my back facing them until I got close enough and they secured me.
BPE: Who were the detectives that were in the house do you remember their names?
Carvajal: To be completely honest with you I don’t remember. There was one that does stick out because of the reports from you and other journalists, there’s one detective that does stick out is the last name Gatus. I believe her last name is Gatus.
BPE: Female. What did she do?
Carvajal: The funny thing about it is that detective actually interrogated, well now she’s my ex, my ex-girlfriend. While I was being detained and I was in a vehicle, this detective actually interrogated my ex-girlfriend. I know they got into an altercation because my ex got really upset because the detective was asking her, oh do you have children. As soon as she said that, because they didn’t tell my ex-girlfriend anything. She didn’t find out what the charges were until she saw my face on TV. When she’s asking them what’s going on, the detective said I don’t know, I’m just helping.
BPE: When you went to prison, you weren’t in prison, you were in the Clark County Detention Center, you were in the jail, how long were you in there?
Carvajal: I was there for about 15 days. Once we got into the first hearing and then after that we did the second one where I was released on house arrest, it was kind of like a shocker because of all the evidence, the private investigator had actually walked in the back for about thirty minutes in the judge’s quarters with the DA and my attorney. He provided the judge with all the evidence proving I was innocent and his findings. The judge came out pretty upset, told the DA they didn’t do their job and the DA was trying to blame the private investigator for allegedly tampering with the witnesses, which it wasn’t true. The DA didn’t want my private investigator to actually do his job, but the judge granted him to be able to do that. What I found out though, after that, the DA was trying to prosecute the private investigator still. Behind doors they were trying to arrest him for that allegedly tampering with witnesses even the judge said that he could speak to anyone he wanted to, that he was actually doing his job, which is pretty alarming.
BPE: Well that is what private investigators are supposed to do on a case like this, they’re working for an attorney.
Carvajal: What was that?
BPE: I said that private investigators, licensed private investigators are hired to do in a case like this, by an attorney. To talk to the witnesses to find out exactly what happened. So you were in the Clark County Detention Center for two weeks and then you were on house arrest for another two months before you were cleared?
BPE: Wow, that’s frightening because as you know anybody arrested for sexual assault, rape or anything like that, that’s persona-non-grata with a lot of the people who are in jail also. So your life was probably, you were probably worried about that in jail.
Carvajal: Correct, yeah. It’s considered in jail terms a green light for sexual offenders especially for kids, any sort of child molestation. Anyone will attack you. I knew that going in. As soon as I went in there I was asked, I spoke to one of the CO’s [correction officers], I said hey these are some heavy charges, I know what’s going to happen what do you advise. He asked me if I wanted to go under protective custody and I told him, you know what, I thought about it, and told him if I go into protective custody that’s going to show anyone out there that I feel like guilt. So, I’m an innocent man and I’m going to ride it out in general population and hopefully, I don’t have to defend myself. The craziest thing. The same night I was exonerated, someone in the same unit overheard the charges that I was being blamed for and he was trying to get different people to actually attack me or do something about it. I had some other people that were defending me as well. I didn’t sleep. I was actually prepared to defend myself because I know what those charges brang to the table. I was in danger for a full night. My face was plastered in the news for about a week.
BPE: It’s an unbelievable story. I just want to say again so the readers understand. Jesus Carvajal was completely innocent of the charges he was arrested for, including when the SWAT Team and the Vice detectives went into his house. You were an innocent man, falsely accused. They did pick somebody up [Tommy Lee Provost] that had a similar appearance to you. I’m looking at these police reports, the difference in the height [Carvajal is 6’2”], the vehicles are totally different from the vehicle you owned. Tell me about the phone number they used for the probable cause also. Can you explain what that was about?
Carvajal: Before I address that, I do want to note that my weight, my weight was totally different. I was 290 pounds at the time, about 287. The weight of this person was about 180 , 190, so. There’s a big difference in size as well. The cell phone number was never tied to me or any of my family members. It was tied supposedly, to the wife of my landlord. Now, even on our own, we did multiple traces on that number and it never landed on his wife’s name, never. The only system that, it’s crazy though, the only system that shows this number was tied to the wife was a system that only police officers have access to. So, they said that that number was tied to the wife at her primary home, they’re saying it was tied to an insurance claim, a year before I even moved into to the house.
ANALYSIS: RED FLAGS SHOULD HAVE GONE UP DURING THE INVESTIGATION
A few things that bother me that occurred during the investigation prior to the execution of the search warrant at Jesus Carvajal’s home and his subsequent arrest.
There were inconsistencies and information that the vice detectives who conducted the investigation had knowledge of that should have raised red flags while they were gathering probable cause for the Affidavit for Search Warrant and the Arrest Warrant for Carvajal.
From the Arrest Report:
- Smith described his vehicle as a dark Dodge charger… Smith described Lee as a clean-cut Hispanic male, approximately 5’8″ in height.
- Doe was approached by an unknown male in a silver Dodge Charger. Doe described Lee as a dark-skinned Hispanic or Hawaiian male having short hair and a well-manicured beard.
- Brown described Lee as a Hispanic or Filipino male, approximately thirty years old. Brown said he had a muscular build with a short mustache and goatee.
- White described Lee as a Hispanic male with a muscular build and well-groomed.
- A records check on the [Dodge] Caliber returned the registered owner as Carvajal, Jesus Eduardo.
- Carvajal has a Nevada Driver’s License.
- He matched the general description of “Lee.”
- Doe picked Carvajal out of the lineup with 100% certainty.
- White picked Carvajal out of the lineup with 80% certainty.
The police had possession of Carvajal’s Nevada driver’s license prior to the application for a search warrant and arrest warrant. The Baltimore Post-Examiner has a copy of that license as it appeared at the time the police had his DL information, and the license indicates Carvajal’s height as 6’2” and his weight as 230 pounds. That is substantially different than a 5’8” male with a muscular build. Apparently that was never an issue with the investigating detectives.
What about when they went into his home and saw the size of this guy. Did any red flags go up at that point, that maybe they had the wrong man?
Carvajal owned a Dodge Caliber and not a Dodge Charger which the police also knew prior to his arrest.
There were enough inconsistencies that should have required further inquiry to solidify the case. I base that on my prior experience as a criminal investigator. I was the affiant on numerous affidavits for search warrants and arrest warrants when I was on the job, and I always made sure my probable cause was airtight before I even thought about going before a magistrate.
When you have the legal authority to enter someone’s home and take someone’s liberty and take them into custody, you have to be damn sure all your i’s are dotted, and your t’s are crossed. In this case, I do not believe that was the case.
Let’s forget about my opinion for now.
Gavin Vesp is a retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sergeant with over 20 years of experience. Vesp was the licensed Nevada private investigator that uncovered the evidence that proved the police had falsely accused Jesus Carvajal of numerous felonies.
The Baltimore Post-Examiner has obtained a copy a Vesp’s 100-page investigative report on the Carvajal case from a confidential source.
Vesp’s report was top-notch and a model on how defense investigations should be conducted. I was totally impressed with the work that he did. Joe Mannix and Frank Cannon look out because Gavin Vesp is really good.
Let’s take a look at some excerpts from his report.
EXCERPTS FROM PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR GAVIN VESP’S REPORT
Last paragraph of the Search Warrant Affidavit, Detective Charaska describes a link between a homeowner’s insurance claim and the address at [redacted], the rental home of Jesus Carvajal and his girlfriend. It is not explained in the affidavit, that the insurance claim hit was produced by running a phone number used by the suspect, 702-355-4151, through an open-source database called ClaimSearch. This database is similar to other open-source databases. These databases are used for different reasons throughout different industries. The document the police used should not be mistaken as one that came directly from a particular insurance company, but general information gathered through open-source information and complied by ClaimSearch.
The common denominator between all these open source databases is that the information provided is not 100% certain and requires independent investigation to evaluate the relevant data being used. In this particular case that does not appear to have been done and neither Jesus Carvajal or his girlfriend have any connection to that phone number, except for the fact that they live in a rental home that belonged to [redacted] who are two of eight people that are attached to the phone number through these type of open source databases.
Through six open-source database systems, not one time is either Jesus Carvajal or his girlfriend attached to the phone number 702-355-4151.
Interviewed by Investigator [redacted] and I on Sunday, August 19th, 2018. [Redacted] is one of two victims that we are currently aware of that picked Jesus Carvajal out of the police photo line-up. It was clear during our interview of [redacted] that she was absolutely not certain if Jesus Carvajal was the person whom she had contact with the morning of August 7th, 2018.
[Redacted] is the second victim that picked Jesus Carvajal out of a photo line-up. [Redacted] WAS NOT 100% certain of her identification of Carvajal based on LVMPD reports, even though she was represented as being 100% certain in the Telephonic Search Warrant.
(Editors Note: If misrepresenting the facts in telephonic search warrants sounds familiar you may be interested in our February 2, 2018 article, ‘Las Vegas police provided false information to judge about mass shooting.’)
Jesus told me the day in question [August 7th, 2018], work surveillance cameras would show him arriving at work between 0500-0510 hours. He stated he did not stop anywhere on the way to work and was driving his blue 2007 Dodge Caliber. Note: Surveillance footage from Jesus Carvajal’s place of work, shows his car arriving in the parking lot at 0517 hours and him walking into the building at 0519 hours.
Based on the location that [redacted] told me she entered the suspects vehicle (West side of the Wild Wild West Gambling Hall) on the morning of August 7th, 2018 and the location she was approached by a subject whom she believed to be the same suspect in a small silver SUV in the early morning hours of August 9th, 2018, perimeter video cameras at the Wild Wild West should have picked up both vehicles. Note: Based on the cameras being on a seven-day loop and police failing to request this footage, the video was lost. We were also denied footage from a LVMPD controlled camera located on the northwest corner of Tropicana and Polaris that may have also revealed these vehicles.
In Detectives [redacted] telephonic Search Warrant Declaration to [redacted], Detective [redacted] states, “A second photo line-up was conducted with the victim [redacted] by Detectives [redacted] at Las Vegas City Jail. After being read the photo line-up witness instructions, [redacted] picked Carvajal out of the line-up with 100% certainty”. This is an absolutely false and misleading statement.
The vehicle described in three of the four incidents is a Dodge Charger. One time described as a silver in color, once described as dark in color and another time described as dark blue in color. Jesus Carvajal does not own a Dodge Charger of any color and claims that he has never rented, nor driven one.
The phone number 702-355-4151 that the suspect, “Lee” has been providing to the victims has no known connection to Jesus Carvajal.
His phone that is in the custody of police will show (Through Call Record Data) its location to be at his residence throughout the night and the morning hours until he left for work. It will show him arriving at his place of work at approximately 0517 hours. It is clearly possible for someone to have multiple phones, but you would still need to explain how he was committing an Attempted Sexual Assault at 0435 in the 4500 block of West Hacienda Ave., got rid of the silver Dodge Charger, got back into his blue Dodge Caliber, went home to get his phone and was at work with his phone by 0517 hours.
The suspect description is close in some instances, but two of the four women describe him as muscular which is not accurate. He is also described in the 5’7” – 5’8” range which is not consistent with Carvajal who is 6’2” in height.
The suspect who calls himself, “Lee” says that he is an undercover police officer. The first known victim [redacted] saw him with handcuffs, gun, and police-style badge. She is the only victim/witness that has seen him with any type of police-style equipment. Carvajal participates in tactical type firearms training as a hobby and also participates in paintball matches. The radio that the police impounded during the warrant, Carvajal stated was part of his organized paintball team (Black Knights) that they use for matches. He owns one Glock 19 handgun that police impounded and an AR-15 style rifle. No handcuffs or badge of any type were impounded during the search warrant of his home and car. Carvajal states he has never had or owned a badge and [redacted] has never seen Carvajal with a badge. Police impounded two police-style tactical vests that Carvajal owns. He uses this for the tactical firearms training that he participates in. Note: There is no information in the reports that the suspect was seen with a bulletproof style vest. Several knives were impounded, but none were the type described by [redacted] when Investigator [redacted] and I interviewed her on Sunday, August 19th, 2018.
If what you just read is not troubling to you, it very well should be. Carvajal had his home raided, he was falsely accused of some of the most heinous crimes anyone could be, jailed, placed on house arrest, had his life and reputation ruined, because by all accounts what amounted to a rush to judgment by the police and an incompetent and negligent criminal investigation.
Believe me, I take no pleasure in saying that because during the two decades that I spent in hotel security management I worked with countless Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives that I found to be honorable and passionate law enforcement officers.
That aside, what is in this article is more than troubling. The police involved in this charade need to be held accountable. Carvajal needs justice in this matter, and I believe the only way he will get that is through civil recourse. Of course, he will need a competent attorney to take on the LVMPD if any justice is to be had.
Vesp, a former member of the LVMPD exposed serious flaws made by his former colleagues during the investigation. Knowingly misrepresenting the facts under oath to a judge is perjury. I left the following two excerpts from Vesp’s remarkable and commendable private investigation for last:
Potentially significant video footage has been lost at both the Wild Wild West Gambling Hall as well as the Super 8 Motel, presumably due to a lack of follow-up on the part of law enforcement.
Both locations could have provided footage of the suspect vehicle and possibly the suspect himself if follow-up was conducted at these locations at the time police were made aware that these were locations of significance.
Discrepancies exist between actual victim/witness statements and what was written in the Arrest Report and Search Warrant Affidavit prepared by Detective [redacted]. These discrepancies could easily be looked at as intentional misrepresentations to strengthen the connection between separate incidents/victims:
- Stating in the Search Warrant Affidavit that [redacted] picked Carvajal out of the photo line-up with, “100% certainty”. This is a false statement.
- Stating that [redacted] described the vehicle as a silver Dodge Charger, when she actually described it as a newer, smaller, white or silver vehicle.
- Stating that the suspect identified himself as, “Lee” to Ms. [redacted] when there is no documentation that we have seen to support that happened and Ms. [redacted] stated to me in our interview that suspect did not tell her his name.
Something is going on over at the LVMPD folks. Is it incompetence, is it negligence, is it complacency?
One thing is for sure, it appears to be a pattern of non-accountability, which equates to a deficiency in leadership.
We have seen this type of behavior before in the many stories I have written concerning the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas Massacre, the shooting into the occupied Kauffman residence on October 8, 2016, and in multiple stories that have been published by the Baltimore Post-Examiner on the now three-year-old unsolved Land/Kauffman murders.
That should be very frightening to the public. Those are the stories we know about. What about the ones we don’t?
What about those accused of crimes that do not have the luxury of hiring a private investigator to uncover the truth?
On August 22, 2018 Gavin Vesp testified at a motion on behalf of the defense in front of Judge Eric Goodman. Vesp testified, “Over the course of eight days, when I’m working 18 hours a day on this because no one wants to listen that they have the wrong person in custody.”
Any time a SWAT Team or any police officer for that matter, is executing a search warrant it has the potential to end in a tragedy. That’s why it is paramount that the probable cause is based on accurate, solid, airtight information. Nothing else is acceptable.
This is not the end of the Carvajal story, but maybe it should be the end of some law enforcement careers.
Doug authored over 135 articles on the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre, more than any other single journalist in the country. He investigates stories on corruption, law enforcement and crime. Doug is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former police officer, deputy sheriff and criminal investigator. Doug spent 20 years in the hotel/casino industry as an investigator and then as Director of Security and Surveillance. He also spent a short time with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. In 1986 Doug was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. In 1992 and 1993 Doug testified in court that a sheriff’s office official and the county prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence during the 1988 trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Doug’s testimony led to a judge’s decision to order the release of the man from prison in 1992 and awarded him a new trial, in which he was later acquitted. As a result of Doug breaking the police “blue wall of silence,” he was fired by the county sheriff. His story was featured on Inside Edition, Current Affair and CBS News’ “Street Stories with Ed Bradley”. In 1992 after losing his job, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doug infiltrated a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont fortune heir and his wife. Doug has been a guest on national television and radio programs speaking on the stories he now writes as an investigative journalist.