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San Clemente man arrested in plot to kill ex-girlfriend

Dan Villanueva Patino, 30, was booked on suspicion of solicitation of murder. He is being held on $1-million bail and is scheduled to appear in court today.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A San Clemente mortgage broker has been arrested after he agreed to pay a man he thought was a hit man $10,000 to kill his former girlfriend, authorities said today.

But the supposed contract killer, who had contacted Dan Villanueva Patino, 30, over the weekend about the plot, turned out to be an undercover Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigator, authorities said.

Sheriff’s investigators on Friday learned that Villanueva Patino was allegedly plotting to kill his former girlfriend to gain full custody of their 5-year-old son, said department spokesman Jim Amormino. Villanueva Patino shared custody of the boy with his former girlfriend, 31.

The full extent of the plan became apparent Monday when Villanueva Patino met with the undercover investigator at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Santa Ana, Amormino said.

Villanueva Patino allegedly wanted the supposed hit man to follow his former girlfriend to a party and stage a fatal traffic accident afterward to make it look like she had been drinking and driving. Authorities said he offered $10,000 for the hit.

Villanueva Patino was arrested after the meeting on suspicion of solicitation of murder. He is being held on $1-million bail and is scheduled to appear in court today.

tony.barboza@latimes.com


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