One of the FBI’s “ten most wanted fugitives” was arrested in Mexico and returned to Los Angeles to face charges of murder, kidnapping and rape, US officials have said.
Reputed gang member Joe Luis Saenz was taken into custody on Thursday in Guadalajara following a joint operation with the Mexican government, said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.
Saenz returned to Los Angeles on Friday evening, while Mexican officials said they expect extradition proceedings to begin in the coming days.
Investigators said Saenz shot and killed two rival gang members in July 1998 to retaliate for an assault on one of his associates.
Saenz suspected Sigrieta Hernandez, his girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, was going to tell police about the slayings, investigators said.
He is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing Hernandez less than two weeks later.
Saenz is also believed to have killed Oscar Torres at his home in October 2008 because he failed to repay $600,000 in drug money after police seized the cash during a traffic stop.
Authorities said they have videotape from a surveillance camera at Torres’ house that shows Saenz killing Torres and wounding another person.
Saenz, who is about 37, was believed to be hiding in Mexico, working as an enforcer and hit man for a Mexican drug cartel.
Saenz had been on the FBI’s most wanted list since 2009, putting him among the ranks of Osama bin Laden and other notorious criminals.
There was a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his arrest.