The Daily Mash-Up

Monday, July 24, 2017 This Week's Paper
Man Charged in Drug Cartel Murder

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist has charged Ray Turner, 32, with Murder in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree and Attempted Robbery in the First Degree.

The defendant was arrested yesterday after an extensive investigation connected him to the Nov. 12, 2012 killing of Jamie Diaz-Solis. Turner will be charged as a co-defendant with three other defendants taken into custody in June, 2013: William Alvarez, Mazzar Robinson and Robert Leon Smith. A fifth defendant remains at large.

“Foreign drug cartels bring in violence as well as drugs,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Lakewood Police and DEA did great work sorting out this tangled drug murder.”

On Nov. 12, 2012, police responded to a report of shots fired at the Greenwood Apartment complex in Lakewood. When officers arrived, they found the body of Jamie Diaz-Solis lying at the foot of the stairs outside his apartment. Witnesses told officers that they heard a gunshot and then observed Juan Hidalgo-Mendoza dragging Diaz-Solis out of the apartment.

Hidalgo-Mendoza told police he shared the apartment with Diaz-Solis, who was his cousin. He said he was in his bedroom when he heard a male's voice, and then heard a gunshot. He said he then jumped out of a window to avoid being shot. He returned to the apartment after the assailants had left, and dragged out the body of Diaz-Solis. Police found almost eight pounds of heroin and $37,000 cash in or around the crime scene. Investigators learned that the two men were part of a major drug distribution chain for a drug cartel in Mexico. Hidalgo-Mendoza was charged and convicted in Federal Court on drug charges. He is serving 15 years to life.

In February, 2013, investigators contacted defendant Alvarez, who confessed he had arranged for several men to kill Hidalgo-Mendoza, and that the planning had begun two months prior to the murder. Alvarez apparently thought he could climb the ladder of the distribution chain by arranging for the murder of Hidalgo-Mendoza, a higher-up, and blaming the murder on another higher-up. The plan went awry when the wrong person, Diaz-Stolis, was shot and killed by Robinson. After the shooting, the men fled without taking any of the drugs or money. While fleeing, the defendants lost the keys to their car and had to call for a ride.

Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.