FBI: Reward helped capture fugitive in Mexico

Associated Press Modified: November 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm •  Published: November 26, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A murder suspect on the FBI's most wanted list gained weight and switched identities to evade authorities for 14 years, but his notoriety and a $100,000 reward finally led to his capture, the agency said Monday.

Jose "Joe" Luis Saenz was arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Thursday on suspicion of four murders and remained jailed in Southern California, the FBI said.

The joint operation involved U.S. and Mexican authorities.

At a Los Angeles news conference, FBI officials said Saenz, 37, had altered his appearance and lived in a modest apartment over a beauty shop when he was taken into custody.

Saenz, a former East Los Angeles gang member who once went by the nicknames "Peanut Joe" and "Zapp," had been a fugitive since being suspected of two Los Angeles killings in 1998.

He was placed on the FBI's top 10 fugitive list in October 2009, joining the likes of Osama bin Laden and Boston crime lord James "Whitey" Bulger.

To evade arrest, he moved frequently, used some two dozen aliases, gained weight, had prominent tattoos removed, and tried to alter his fingertips with glue, FBI officials said.

Saenz had money to move around from his work as an enforcer for a Mexican drug cartel, authorities said.



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