Joe Luis Saenz
According to Special Agent Scott Garriola, a 22-year veteran of the FBI who has worked fugitive cases for more than a dozen years, Saenz—the newest addition to our Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list—“is one of the worst offenders I have ever seen.” Garriola added, “He’s got a long career of killing, and that’s just what we know about.”
Less than two weeks after the gang homicides, Saenz allegedly kidnapped, raped, and murdered his girlfriend—the mother of his child—at his grandmother’s home.
Saenz, now about 34 years old, is believed to be living in Mexico, working as an enforcer for a drug cartel and traveling with apparent ease across the border into the U.S. using fake identification—“legitimate I.D. fraudulently obtained,” Garriola said.
We need your help. If you have any information that may be helpful to our investigation, please contact our Los Angeles office or submit a tip electronically on our website. We are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of Saenz.
A few details. He is nearly six feet tall, weighs about 180 pounds, and has brown eyes and dark hair. Saenz also has a number of tattoos, although he may have had them removed with laser surgery. He goes by many aliases, including nicknames such as “Zapp,” “Smiley,” “Hunnicut,” and “Toro.”
That last name, Toro, figures in yet another murder, one that took place last year in California. In August 2008, two members of the Lott Stoner gang were stopped in Missouri by the highway patrol while driving a rental vehicle. Based on their suspicious behavior, the vehicle was searched, and troopers found $620,000 in cash in a secret panel. The money was wrapped, and marked with the name “Toro.” Two months later, one of those Lott Stoner gang members was murdered in his Whittier home—apparently Saenz didn’t believe his story that the money was confiscated by the police.
Unbeknownst to Saenz, the victim’s home surveillance system was recording at the time of the killing. “This appeared to be a cold-blooded murder,” Agent Garriola said. “And judging from the videotape, Saenz seemed to be enjoying himself.”
“We are hopeful that somebody will come forward in this case,” Garriola said. “By his actions, Saenz has made enemies in rival gangs and even in his own gang. It would be no surprise if somebody wanted to turn him in.” The agent noted that any information given to the FBI would be held in the strictest confidence.
Acredita-se que Saenz trabalhe para um cartel de drogas mexicano, e viaje entre Estados Unidos e México, sempre em posse de uma arma. Ele pode ter removido suas tatuagens com laser.
Shortly before 6 a.m. on July 25, 1998, cops say Saenz, then 22, and fellow gang member Juan Pena went to the Aliso Viejo housing project in East Los Angeles.
According to detectives, the duo went to Aliso Viejo under the guise of a drug buy, but they actually went there to hunt down rival East L.A. Trece gang members. A week earlier, cops say Pena was beat up by Trece gang members and the two sought revenge.
Cops say that when Saenz caught up with the two rival gang members, he asked for a bag of drugs. Saenz then quickly executed his rivals, shooting both in the head.
According to detectives, Saenz then said to Pena, "That's how it's done."
Saenz shot the rivals once again to ensure they were dead, and the duo fled from the scene to seek refuge at the home of Saenz's girlfriend.
Though police have secured a warrant for his arrest, Saenz has vowed to not go down without a fight.According to cops, Saenz and Pena hid at Sigreta Hernandez's apartment right after Saenz murdered the two rival gang members. Sigreta was not only Saenz's girlfriend, but also the mother of his infant daughter.
Cops say fellow gang members didn't trust Sigreta, and urged Saenz to kill her. They feared Sigreta would tell cops about the murders.
On August 5, days after the double murder, Saenz kidnapped Sigreta and drove her to his house in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles.
Cops say Saenz ordered his grandmother, with whom he was living, to leave before taking Sigreta to his bedroom, where he brutally raped and executed her. Like the Trece gang members he shot days before, Saenz killed Sigreta by shooting her in the head.
According to detectives, Saenz then called his grandmother and told her not to return home. However, when the grandmother and a friend returned to the house a short time later, they discovered Sigreta, whose face was covered by a pillow.
Cops charged Saenz with three counts of murder, one count of kidnapping, and one count of rape. Though police have secured a warrant for his arrest, Saenz has vowed to not go down without a fight.On October 5, 2008, L.A. County homicide detectives were called to the scene of a murder in Whittier, Calif., where they found the body of victim 38-year-old Oscar Torres.
Cops say Torres was executed in his front yard after he failed to repay $600,000 in drug money, which he forfeited to cops during a routine traffic stop.
Investigators discovered that the money Torres was transporting belonged to Jose Luis Saenz. Investigators also learned that the murder of Oscar Torres was recorded by surveillance cameras.
Saenz was seen arriving at Torres' house, chasing Torres out of his front door and pumping Torres full of bullets. When the medical examiner arrived, Torres was pronounced dead.
The videotape confirmed that Jose Luis Saenz has returned to the area and is more dangerous than ever. Police say it's only a matter of time before he kills again. Cops really want help from anyone who knows anything about Saenz's whereabouts.