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Suspect Confesses That Drug Agents Were Shot in Attempted Robbery

February 10, 1988|From United Press International

A suspected heroin dealer arrested after a shoot-out in which two federal undercover agents were slain and one was wounded confessed to shooting the agents as part of a robbery attempt, court documents revealed Tuesday.

William Wang, 18, of Hacienda Heights told FBI agents that he shot and killed Drug Enforcement Administration agents Paul Seema and George Montoya and wounded agent Jose Martinez in Pasadena Friday, FBI Special Agent Jack Page said in a sworn affidavit.

A federal complaint filed late Monday with the affidavit charged Wang with the premeditated killings of Seema and Montoya and with the assault on Martinez, who was shot in both legs.

A federal magistrate arraigned Wang on the charges Tuesday at County-USC Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment for gunshot wounds he suffered during a gun battle with police after the shootings.

U.S. Atty. Robert Bonner said in a statement that he wants to seek the death penalty in the case, even though the Supreme Court has regarded the federal death penalty as unconstitutional and has not applied it.

Two Taiwanese men suspected of helping Wang in the shooting were identified by authorities as Michael Chow, 19, and Wen Heui Kow, 27, both of Monterey Park. They were killed in a later gun battle with police.

Three other people were also taken into custody, but later released to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. They were not charged in the shootings.

Page said Wang confessed Sunday that the agents were slain "as part of a plan to rob three men who were supposed to be drug dealers" and that it was "part of the plan" to kill the men.

Martinez, Seema and Montoya had been investigating the so-called "Golden Triangle" ring that imports heroin into the United States from Thailand, Burma and Laos. A DEA spokesman said the Golden Triangle accounts for about 20% of the heroin smuggled into the United States.

The affidavit said Seema had bought heroin from Kow before and that the agents believed they were about to purchase two pounds of heroin.

While Montoya waited outside, Kow met Seema and Martinez Friday morning at a Monterey Park restaurant. He agreed to sell them two pounds of heroin, which he had stashed at a Pasadena home, the affidavit said.

Demanded to See Cash

Joining Montoya in the agents' car, Kow demanded to see the cash and Montoya complied, flashing about $80,000, the affidavit said.

Once in Pasadena, however, Kow got out of the car and pointed a gun at Montoya as two other suspects drove up in a red sports car, the affidavit said. As Kow shouted, "Give me the money or we will shoot," Wang leaped from the red car and trained a gun on Seema, the affidavit said.

As Seema repeatedly begged, "Please don't kill us," Montoya handed over the money, the document said. When Seema's car door opened unexpectedly, Kow and Wang glanced at each other, "as though it was a mutual understanding or a predesignated signal to start shooting, then a shot was fired," the affidavit said.

Page said Wang told him he "heard 'Frank,' (an alias for Kow) shoot (Montoya), the passenger in the back seat of the Volvo."

Driver Tried to Escape

"Wang shot the passenger in the front of the Volvo (Seema) and also shot the passenger in the back seat of the Volvo (Montoya)," Page said. "Wang stated that he believed he also shot the driver (Martinez), who was trying to escape from the vehicle."

Kow, Wang and Chow then sped away in the red sports car as Martinez fired several shots at the car before collapsing, the affidavit said.

Followed by three carloads of backup agents, the suspects in the red car crashed in San Marino, where a final gun battle took place, killing Kow and Chow and wounding Wang, who was in the back seat.

Two men and one woman who had been parked nearby the first shoot-out in Pasadena allegedly sped away in a black car and were arrested in Monterey Park. Pasadena Police Sgt. Van Anthony said the three, all Taiwanese, were released Tuesday to the INS for investigation of immigration violations, but he had no further details.

He identified them as Michael Soo, 20, and Jimmy Chien-Sun, 19, both of Alhambra, and Linda Lynn Cheng, 20, of San Gabriel.

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