A recent FBI investigation into an unsolved double murder that has rocked the area of San Francisco’s Chinatown has uncovered new information that could shed light on the case.
The investigation into the murder of Chien-Ching Tsai, a 52-year-old Chinese-American woman, and her lover, David Tsai of San Jose, began in August 2014, when the FBI received information from a source that led them to a person in Chinatown who had been selling counterfeit drugs, said James J. Moore, the FBI’s San Francisco office director.
The person told the FBI that he was selling counterfeit heroin and methamphetamine to Chinese people who had fled China after the 2014 riots, and that the drug dealers also took photos of their customers’ bodies, Moore said.
The next month, the same source told the San Francisco Police Department that the couple had been killed in a car crash, and the two men were later identified as Chien Tung and David Tsien, the investigation team said in a news release.
Chien Tsai and David were killed in 2014 after they were killed by two suspects in a hit-and-run in Chinatown.
In September 2016, San Francisco police searched for the suspects in their vehicles, finding a black, late-model black Mercedes sedan that matched the car used in the hit-or-run.
Police released a photo of a man wearing the same dark jacket and hoodie as the man who killed Chien Tsaei in her San Francisco apartment.
The man was identified as 22-year old Jose Lopez.
Lopez is charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
He was arrested on Wednesday and booked into San Mateo County Jail on a $10,000 bond, and will be arraigned Monday, the newspaper said.
Moore said investigators have received more than 200 tips from the community.
“They’ve been talking to a lot of people, including some that have not seen the photos of the two bodies and are unaware of the crimes,” Moore said in the release.
“This is very important to understand is that the FBI has a large team of law enforcement personnel working to track down and bring to justice this person, as well as to assist the families of the victims,” Moore added.
Police said they believe Lopez was involved in the killings, but that they were not involved in a murder-for-hire plot.
Lopez was arrested about a month after the hit and run, and is being held on $5 million bail, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article published Thursday.
Langlois is scheduled to appear in court in San Mateos Superior Court on Monday.
Moore noted that the murder-of-a-victim scheme has also been linked to other cases of people who have been arrested for drug crimes, and said there are still people who might have been involved in these schemes.
“It’s going to be difficult to tell how these are connected, but we have to keep looking at it and doing everything we can to find them,” he said.
“We are in the midst of a crime wave in San Francisco, and we need to keep an eye out for this,” Moore concluded.
The FBI and local police have urged anyone with information about the murders to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.