FOUNTAIN VALLEY (CBSLA) – A man and woman were arrested in FBI raids early Thursday morning in Fountain Valley and San Juan Capistrano in connection with the slaying of a man aboard a boat off the Orange County coast back in October.
Thirty-eight-year-old Hoang Xuan Le, a suspected drug trafficker, is accused of taking the victim out onto a boat and then murdering him over a debt, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reports. He is charged with first-degree murder.READ MORE: Country Music Star Trisha Yearwood Tests Positive For COVID-19, Husband Garth Brooks Negative
Sheila Marie Ritze, 40, is charged with being an accessory after the fact.
Le was arrested by FBI agents at 5 a.m. at his Fountain Valley home in the 18000 block of Third Street. Ritze was taken into custody at around the same time at her San Juan Capistrano home.
The murder victim has not been named.
Le is accused of luring the victim to join him for a purported fishing trip out of Dana Harbor. According to prosecutors, on Oct. 14, Le took the victim out on a boat owned by Ritze. He then confronted him about a debt, shot him in the head and dumped his body in the ocean, prosecutors say.READ MORE: Oxnard Church Volunteer Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 3 Teen Girls
The victim’s body was recovered from the Pacific Ocean two days later, on Oct. 16, about seven miles northwest of Oceanside.
A confidential source told federal investigators that Le confessed to killing the man because the victim owed him between $30,000 and $40,000.
During Thursday’s raid, authorities found an AR-15-type rifle, a shotgun, and a crossbow at Le’s home, the attorney’s office said.
Using surveillance video and cell phone location data, investigators determined that Ritze was with both Le and the victim at Dana Harbor just before the boat launched on the day of the murder, and remained at the harbor when Le brought the boat back, alone, hours later, prosecutors said.
If convicted as charged, Le could face the death penalty. Ritze faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.MORE NEWS: Doctors Expect Tiger Woods To Walk Again, But Golf Legend Likely 'Never The Same' After Crash
The U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI are joining investigating.