Police used undercover officer in Burkholder investigation

Adam Curtis Police Press Releases, Public Affairs Press Releases

Sierra Vista, AZ.  11/29/16.  The Sierra Vista Police Department used an undercover police officer to gain information from Israel Burkholder prior to arresting him for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on Sunday, Nov. 6.

At this stage of the investigation, the police department is able to share more detailed information regarding the arrest of Burkholder, who is a former deputy with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives had been conducting physical and electronic surveillance on Burkholder and arranged to make an undercover police officer available to him. Burkholder believed that the undercover officer was a killer for hire who would be willing to end the life of a local man in exchange for payment.

Burkholder made overt acts to ensure payment and provided critical information to the undercover officer that would be needed to carry out the murder. Burkholder wanted to meet the person he had been conspiring with and completed arrangements to do so at a local convenience store located at the corner of Avenida Cochise and Buffalo Soldier Trail on Sunday, Nov. 6. At the meeting, he provided the undercover officer with information needed to carry out the killing.

Members of the SVPD Special Response Team were at the convenience store conducting surveillance of Burkholder and the undercover police officer.  Burkholder ended his meeting and was getting ready to vacate the parking lot of the convenience store under observation. At that point, members of the Special Response Team took Burkholder into custody at 5:02 p.m. without incident.

On Nov. 10, the Cochise County Grand Jury indicted Burkholder on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of narcotic drugs, and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. He is still being held in Cochise County Jail.

For more information regarding this case, contact Detective Sgt. Sean Brownson at (520) 452-7500.