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Man wanted for brutal murder tried escaping through ceiling of Ashland motel

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Jan 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-14 23:33:33-05

ASHLAND, Va. -- A man wanted for throwing three bound, beaten and stabbed men off a bridge and into the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was arrested Tuesday at a motel in Ashland. Tam Minh Le was staying at the motel with his wife and children.

He was one of the U.S. Marshals Top 15 Most Wanted Fugitives.  Sources tell CBS 6 Le is a member of a Vietnamese gang called “Born to Kill.”  He was wanted for a double murder.

Tam Le (PHOTO: United States Marshals Service)

Tam Le (PHOTO: United States Marshals Service)

A tip to U.S. Marshals and Philadelphia Police brought investigators to Ashland.

"On Monday, the investigators sent the information to members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force in Virginia. Deputy U.S. Marshals immediately began canvassing local motels and collecting information in their search for Le," United States Marshals Service spokesman Kevin Connolly said. "On Tuesday, Le was spotted entering a room at a Motel 6. Deputies closed in, knocked on the room door and commanded him to surrender. They discovered Le’s wife and their three children in the room. After safely removing Le’s family, marshals found the fugitive locked in the bathroom attempting to escape through the ceiling. After a brief standoff, marshals convinced Le to surrender and placed him in custody at approximately 5:25 p.m."

Le will be held at Pamunkey Regional Jail awaiting extradition.

"An extremely dangerous person has been taken off the streets," Robert Mathieson, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, said. "We hope and pray his arrest brings some peace to the families of his victims."

Le's wanted poster indicated and members of the BTK gang were responsible for throwing the men into the river. Two of the men died. One of the men survived.

Police say in August he loaned the brothers $100,000 in drug money but they gambled it away.  Police say his payback was stabbing the men, slashing their throats, and dumping them in the Schuylkill River, with tar buckets tied to their bodies.

"It was shocking to hear, man,” said Edward Harris. “I've been in the room and car with this guy.  He seemed like a nice guy.  He even told me if I ever needed anything to just ask."

Several people in Ashland that had interacted with Le said he had told them his name was John and that he was in the military.

A $25,000 reward was being offered for information leading to his arrest.