Fugitive Suspected in Four LA Slayings Led Life of "Average Citizen" | NBC Southern California

Fugitive Suspected in Four LA Slayings Led Life of "Average Citizen"

Jose Saenz was arrested last week in Mexico, where authorities say he was working for a drug cartel

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    Jose Luis Saenz, among FBI's Most Wanted, tried to hide by using two dozen aliases, gaining weight and attempting to alter his fingerprints, according to the FBI. Saenz was arrested last week in Mexico after more than a decade on the run. Patrick Healy reports from Pomona for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2012. (Published Monday, Nov. 26, 2012)

    One of the FBI's most-wanted fugitives lived the life of an "average citizen" in an apartment above a Guadalajara, Mexico, beauty salon for more than a decade on the run before authorities took him into custody last week.

    Jose "Joe" Luis Saenz, accused in four Los Angeles homicide cases, was working for a drug cartel when he was arrested Thursday, authorities said. He made his initial court appearance Monday during a scheduled arraignment, which was postponed to Jan. 8.

    Saenz is suspected in four homicides dating to the 1998 slayings of two rival gang members.

    Eleven days after the double-homicide, Saenz allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted his ex-girlfriend before killing her. The shooting was to prevent her from reporting Saenz to authorities, police said.

    A fourth slaying linked to Saenz, added to the FBI Top-10 Most Wanted Fugitives list in 2009, occurred in October 2008 involved a drug debt, according to authorities.The FBI noted in its Most Wanted list description of Saenz that he "has reportedly made previous statements indicating plans to kill a police officer upon his arrest" and "is believed to always carry a weapon."

    "He was living as an average citizen in an apartment above a beauty salon," said FBI agent Scott Garriola.

    Mexican authorities took Saenz into custody as he returned to the apartment, Garriola said. Saenz identified himself as "Giovanni Torres," one of about 20 aliases used during his time on the run, according to the FBI.

    Saenz had removed tattoos on his arms, according to the FBI. Authorities claim Saenz also tried to hide by gaining weight and trying to alter his fingerprints.

    "Not guilty for life," Saenz said as he was escorted to a vehicle at LAX.

    A $100,000 reward helped lead to his capture, according to the FBI.

    City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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