New Top Ten - Violent LA Gang Member
Top Ten Fugitives
Wanted for Murder, Kidnapping, and Rape
(Note: Saenz was captured in November 2012).
In 1998, Joe Luis Saenz allegedly shot and killed two rival gang members in Los Angeles for disrespecting one of the members of his gang. Authorities believe that was just the beginning of his killing spree.
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.
For a full list of the fugitives and missing persons we’re looking for, please visit our Wanted by the FBI webpage.
- Ten Most Wanted Fugitives