The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged a 51-year-old Los Angeles man for soliciting an undercover Santa Monica police officer to murder someone who had entrusted the man with more than $100,000, Santa Monica police said.
The District Attorney’s Office charged Luis M. Cortez Monday, May 14th, with soliciting another person to commit a murder and conspiracy to commit a crime, Santa Monica police Lt. Alex Padilla said. Cortez is being held without bail.
Investigators from the Santa Monica Police Department Narcotics and Vice Unit arrested Cortez at 1 p.m. Friday, May 11th, at a vehicle repair shop in Santa Monica, where he works, Padilla said.
The arrest occurred after Cortez allegedly solicited an undercover Santa Monica police officer to murder Cortez’s friend of nearly 20 years, he said.
The friend had entrusted Cortez with more than $100,000 with the understanding that he would get the money back when he asked for it.
“They were good friends,” Padilla said.
But Cortez contacted another friend May 2nd and asked him to look for someone to hire to kill the victim, police alleged.
Cortez allegedly thought that he could keep the $100,000, once the victim was killed, police said.
The friend that Cortez contacted for the alleged murder-for-hire later contacted Santa Monica police, who conducted an investigation.
Undercover police officers met with the suspect on several occasions during the investigation, which led to Cortez’s arrest May 11th.
Investigators also served search warrants at the suspect’s workplace and his Los Angeles residence, where they recovered additional evidence, including some financial records, Padilla said.