Luis Cortez hired the wrong guy.
On Monday, May 14, the Santa Monica Police Department issued a statement reporting that the case against Luis M. Cortez of Los Angeles, aged 51, was presented to the District Attorney that day and murder for hire charges were filed against him.
Cortez reportedly contacted a “friend” on May 2 and asked him to look for someone that he (Cortez) could hire to kill the victim, another “friend” who had entrusted more than $100,000 to Cortez’s care. “Once the victim was killed, Suspect Cortez thought that he could then keep the money,” said the Police Department statement. The friend contacted by Cortez instead contacted the Santa Monica Police Department, which conducted the investigation that led to Cortez’s arrest.
On Friday, May 11, at 1:00 p.m., Cortez solicited an undercover Santa Monica police officer to murder the friend who had entrusted the money to him. Investigators from the SMPD narcotics and vice unit arrested Cortez at his workplace in Santa Monica. “Suspect Cortez and the intended victim have know each other for nearly 20 years,” said the police.
Investigators also served search warrants at Cortez’s workplace and his residence in Los Angeles, where they recovered additional evidence.
Lt. Alex Padilla of the Santa Monica police said: “Cortez was booked for [section] 653f (b) of the Penal Code: soliciting another person to commit a murder, and for [section] 182 of the Penal Code: conspiracy to commit a crime. Due to the nature of the crime, a bail enhancement was obtained and Suspect Cortez is being held without bail.”