By Kelly Kelstrup, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
TACOMA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged William Alvarez, 26, Mazzar Robinson, 41, and Robert Leon Smith, 33, with Murder in the First Degree, Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. The defendants were arrested Friday, June 21st, by Lakewood Police, the Metro SWAT Team and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), after an extensive investigation connected them to the November 12, 2012 killing of Jamie Diaz-Solis.
“Foreign drug cartels bring in violence as well as drugs,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Lakewood Police and DEA worked collaboratively to solve this drug-related murder.”
On November 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 Mr. Diaz-Solis out of the apartment.
Mr. Hidalgo-Mendoza told police he shared the apartment with Mr. 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 Mr. Diaz-Solis. Police found almost 8 pounds of Heroin and $37,000 in 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 three men to kill Hidalgo-Mendoza. 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, Mr. 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.
The defendants were arraigned today in Pierce County Superior Court. The Court set bail at $5,000,000 for Robinson, $1,500,000 for Alvarez, and $1,000,000 for Smith. Robinson has previous convictions for Manslaughter 1, Robbery 2, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and multiple drug felonies.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.