A man and woman were arrested Thursday on federal charges of killing a man and throwing his body overboard in the waters off Dana Point Harbor.
Hoang Xuan Le, 38, of Fountain Valley, and Sheila Marie Ritze, 40, of San Juan Capistrano, were arrested about 5 a.m., according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
Le, also known as Wayne, is an alleged drug trafficker, who is charged with first-degree murder, according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ritze, who is the registered owner of the boat, was charged with being an accessory after the fact, Mrozek said.
Le is accused of killing the victim, whose name was not released, because the man owed him $30,000 to $40,000, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaints.
Le allegedly told a confidential informant that he lured the victim onto a fishing boat Oct. 14 in Dana Point Harbor for an overnight fishing trip, then shot him in the head, anchored his body with weights around the ankles and hurled him overboard, according to the FBI affidavit. The body was recovered several miles northwest of Oceanside Oct. 16, Mrozek said.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the victim drowned after being shot and sustaining blunt force trauma, Mrozek said.
The informant, while working with investigators, bought cocaine from Le, according to the FBI. Le allegedly indicated he would be open to being a contract killer, according to the affidavit.
The informant, who was wearing a wire, also recorded Le as he allegedly sold more drugs to him and again expressed a willingness to be a hit man, according to the FBI.
Investigators seized an AR-15-type rifle, shotgun and crossbow in Le’s residence Thursday morning, Mrozek said.
They say evidence shows Ritze’s phone was near the harbor when the boat left and returned Oct. 14. Surveillance video also shows her at the harbor with two others, whom investigators suspect were Le and the victim, Mrozek said.
Surveillance video shows only Ritze and Le when the boat returned to the harbor hours later, he said.
Investigators also allege that Ritze bought a tracking device found on the victim’s girlfriend’s vehicle.
The two suspects were expected to make their initial appearance in federal court in Santa Ana Thursday afternoon, Eimiller said.