LOS ANGELES – The father of a former Los Angeles police officer wanted for murder was arrested Thursday for allegedly lying to FBI agents after helping his son flee to Mexico.
Victor Solis, 53, is accused of falsely telling agents that he drove his son — now-fired Officer Henry Solis, 27 — to Texas and dropped him off at a bus station in El Paso and had no idea where his son went from that point.
However, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in El Paso, surveillance video from the border crossing shows the elder Solis with his fugitive son using the pedestrian crossing to enter Juarez.
An FBI agent said in the complaint that the elder Solis lied when he denied that he had crossed the border with his son.
Victor Solis was arrested at home in Lancaster Thursday morning, and he appeared in federal court hours later in downtown Los Angeles.He is charged with making a false statement to law enforcement.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick F. Mumm ordered Victor Solis detained without bail as a flight risk and a danger to the community based on evidence found at the Lancaster apartment where he was arrested.
FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola told Mumm that when a task force went to apprehend Victor Solis, they found about $5,000 and firearm ammunition.
In urging Mumm to order Victor Solis detained, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Wolfe said the defendant “assisted his son in fleeing a murder charge” and had said authorities “would never find his son.”
Wolfe said the elder Solis was not a United States citizen, had no job, was estranged from his family, had “no ties” to the U.S. and was “likely” to flee to Mexico if released from federal custody prior to trial.
The judge agreed, saying that the ex-officer’s father “has an ability to flee to jurisdiction” and was a danger to the community.
Victor Solis agreed to be transferred to Texas to face the federal charge, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years. He was ordered to remain jailed without bail.
According to the complaint, the elder Solis told agents he traveled alone to Mexico on March 14, “… when in truth and in fact the defendant traveled to Mexico with his son on March 14, 2015, and the defendant’s false statement was an attempt to conceal his son’s whereabouts from law enforcement.”
Investigators searching for Henry Solis learned from family members, friends and witnesses that after the shooting, “Henry Solis made incriminating statements about his role in the murder of Rodriguez,” court papers show.
Solis then called his father in Lancaster, and soon after, “(Victor) Solis left his Lancaster home in a hurry.”
Victor Solis told a special agent during an interview at a home in San Elizario, Texas, that his son called him between 7 and 8 a.m. on March 13 and said that he had five days of vacation and wanted to go to El Paso, according to an affidavit.
The two arrived in El Paso about 3 a.m. March 14 and Victor Solis said he dropped his son off at a bus station, but Henry Solis did not say where he was going.
Victor Solis said he then parked his car in a lot near a border crossing and fell asleep and later walked across the border into Juarez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua about 2 p.m., before returning about 8 p.m.
“Solis stated that he called a detective from a payphone and he told the detective that they would never find his son,” according to the affidavit.
Special Agent Armando Soto, who filed the affidavit, said that on Monday he viewed video obtained from the border crossing and saw Henry and Victor Solis both crossing the border about 5:40 a.m. March 14.
Henry Solis, who was fired March 17 from the LAPD, remains at large. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to his arrest.
Henry Solis is suspected of pursuing and gunning down Salome Rodriguez Jr., 23, after getting into a fight with the victim in downtown Pomona bar. The fatal shooting occurred around 3:30 a.m. Friday, March 13, near Third and Main streets.
[Information via City News Service.]
Previous related story: Warrant: Lancaster dad helped son, wanted for murder, flee to Texas