POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said a woman arrested in February for the practice of unlicensed health care is now charged with attempting to hire someone to kill a witness in her case – her husband.
Listen to the first released exchange between Lopez and the undercover detective in the video above.
Listen to the second released exchange below:
Jesusadelaida “Jesse” Lopez, 40, has been in jail since Feb. 14, 2019. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Lopez ran the “Drop It Like It’s Hot” weight loss clinic in Winter Haven. Detectives said Lopez performed medical procedures and portrayed herself as a registered nurse, even though she does not hold any medical degrees.
Sheriff Grady Judd says Lopez is now facing a new charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, the victim being her husband Daniel Lopez.
The investigation began August 2019 when the sheriff’s office started hearing that Jesse Lopez was making comments that she wanted her husband killed. The sheriff’s office orchestrated a scheme to get an undercover detective in contact with Lopez about her murder-for-hire wishes.
During the investigation, the sheriff’s office said Lopez used the inmate account system to call the undercover detective and send him emails from jail. She also sent a letter to an undercover P.O. box. Within the messages and phone calls sent to the undercover detective, there was an instance where Lopez reportedly asked him to “remove a tree” from her house, and agreed to pay $2,000 for it. When asked for a picture of the tree, Lopez sent a picture of her husband.
The sheriff’s office said Lopez asked the undercover detective if they could murder her husband but make it look like a “robbery gone wrong,” and to make sure it didn’t come back to her.
When Lopez was interviewed by detectives, they said she admitted to making the request.
Lopez made her first appearance in court on the new charge Wednesday afternoon. She asked the judge to allow her to have her attorney present, so the case was rescheduled to Friday at 1 p.m.
Lopez was first arrested on June 12, 2018. The Polk County Sheriff’s undercover detectives worked with the DEA and the Department of Health and served a search warrant at the weight loss clinic, which was then located on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven.
She was later charged with six counts of unlicensed practice of health care. Investigators said Lopez worked at the clinic with a licensed medical doctor and had been performing medical procedures herself and portraying herself as a registered nurse. Lopez does not hold any medical degrees, investigators say.
Deputies took 39-year-old Lopez back into custody on Feb. 14 of this year. Detectives arrested her “after receiving information she was practicing health care without a license once again.” The sheriff’s office says she was operating this time out of Jesse’s Gym on U.S. Highway 92 in Auburndale.