A man Lakewood police believe took out a contract on a rival drug trafficker’s life, and the two men who allegedly bungled the hit by killing the wrong man, were charged Monday with first-degree murder.
Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of William Alvarez Calo, Robert L. Smith Jr. and Mazzar Robinson to the murder count and other charges at their arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court.
Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Smith jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, Alvarez Calo in lieu of $1.5 million bail and Robinson in lieu of $5 million bail at the request of deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann.
McCann asked for the $5 million for Robinson because the defendant could face life in prison without parole under Washington’s “three strikes you’re out” law if he’s convicted as charged. One of his first two strikes was for manslaughter in 1994 when he admitted killing a man he thought had been abusing a woman he knew. He was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison in that case, court records show.
Jamie Diaz-Solis, 32, died last year after being shot in the head at his Lakewood apartment, the unintended target of a shooting meant to kill his roommate and cousin, Juan Hidalgo-Mendoza, court records show.
Alvarez Calo, 26, is accused of hiring Smith, 33, and Robinson, 41, to kill Hidalgo-Mendoza, whom he saw as a rival in a Mexican drug cartel that had been funneling heroin and other drugs into Pierce County, court records show. Alvarez Calo had had a falling out with Hildalgo-Mendoza and another lieutenant in the cartel after Alvarez Calo lost some drugs he was supposed to sell, records show.
A witness allegedly told detectives that Alvarez Calo “bragged for the month leading up to November that he was going to ‘take them out,’ and he would have their drugs and money,” prosecutors wrote in a declaration of probable cause.
Robinson, Smith and the other man, who’s identity has not been made public, were to take whatever drugs and money they found in Hidalgo-Mendoza’s apartment as compensation.
Things went wrong the day of the shooting when Robinson, Smith and the third man encountered Diaz-Solis at the Greenwood Apartments, records show. A witness told detectives that Robinson, later explaining why they shot the wrong man, said Diaz-Solis “reached” for something so they felt compelled to shoot him.
They fled without the money or drugs they were promised as compensation for the hit, court records show. Robinson allegedly dropped the keys to his car while running away and later had to have his car towed from nearby the murder scene, the records state.
After his arrest Friday, Smith confirmed many of the details about the conspiracy but told detectives he walked away before Solis-Diaz was shot, the records state.
Detectives who later searched the the victim’s apartment found 32 pounds of heroin and other drugs as well as a rifle.
Hidalgo-Mendoza recently was convicted of narcotics violations based on that evidence.