LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police say an inmate in Luzerne County Correctional Facility plotted to have two girls and a woman killed before his trial.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, in December of 2021 officials learned that an inmate at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility was asking fellow inmates about hiring a hitman to kill multiple people who were involved in his rape case.

In July 2021, Ferdinand Cuevas-Heredia, 44, of Pittston, was charged with rape after being accused of sexually assaulting two girls and a woman.

Court papers allege that Cuevas-Heredia made attempts to get the victims to change their stories before his trial by offering them cash.

However, by December 2021 police said Cuevas-Heredia started making arrangements with fellow inmates to hire a hitman to kill the two girls and the woman.

Troopers were informed by an inmate of Cuevas-Heredia’s plans to hire a hitman and that inmate began working with investigators to catch Cuevas-Heredia.

On September 7, 2022, Cuevas-Heredia got in contact with an undercover trooper, posing as a hitman, stating he is willing to pay $20,000 and $8,000 as a down payment to kill the three victims, according to court documents.

As stated in the affidavit, arrangements were made for Cuevas-Heredia’s mother to deliver the $8,000 down payment to the undercover trooper in a parking lot in Wilkes-Barre Township on September 16.

Undercover troopers said they received the payment from Cuevas-Heredia’s mother and later Cuevas-Heredia was brought in to be interviewed by detectives.

During the interview, Cuevas-Heredia claimed his mother had no idea about the hit on the three victims and thought she was giving money to a private investigator to help with his sexual assault charges.

Court papers allege that Cuevas-Heredia wanted the three victims killed before his sexual assault trial that is scheduled in October.

In a statement Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in part;

This defendant was determined to use any means necessary to avoid facing the consequences of his actions… I am grateful for the work that the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pittston Police Department did in this investigation.”

Josh Shapiro, Attroney General

Cuevas-Heredia faces the additional charges of criminal homicide, intimidating a witness, and criminal use of a communication facility.