The Christian lead singer of Grammy-nominated rock band As I Lay Dying has been arrested in Southern California in a sting operation for allegedly attempting to arrange the murder of his estranged wife.
Tim Lambesis, 32, was arrested Tuesday while shopping in Oceanside, Calif. and has been charged with three federal counts, including solicitation of another to commit murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit crime, according to the San Diego County sheriff's department.
"Information came to us last Thursday, we decide to initiate an investigation immediately," Jan Caldwell, a spokesman for the San Diego sheriff's department told ABCNews.com. "We worked it around the clock until the arrest was made at 2 p.m. on Tuesday." Caldwell said that Lambesis was arrested without incident.
On Tuesday, Lambesis solicited an undercover detective to kill his wife Meggan Lambesis, who resides in Encinitas, Calif., police said in a statement. San Diego police said that they received a tip on May 2 that Lambesis was soliciting another individual to kill his estranged wife, who served him with divorce papers in September 2012, according to court records.
Lambesis is a founding member of the metalcore band that formed in 2000 in San Diego. As I Lay Dying's 2007 album "An Ocean Between Us" hit number 8 on the Billboard 200, and no. 1 on the Top Rock chart. The group was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for the song "Nothing Left" from the album. The band has released a total of six albums.
In a statement to fans, band members said their "thoughts right now are with Tim, his family, and with everyone else affected by this terrible situation - and with our fans, whom we love and draw strength from."
"As we post this, the legal process is taking it's course and we have no more information than you do. There are many unanswered questions, and the situation will become clearer in the coming days and weeks. We'll keep you informed as best we can," the statement said.
In a frequently asked questions section on the band's website, Lambesis laid out his beliefs and how he said it should apply to his life.
"I'm not sure what the difference is between five Christians playing in a band and a Christian band," he said. "If you truly believe something, then it should affect every area of your life. All five of us are Christians. I believe that change should start with me first."
As I Lay Dying is scheduled to be the special guests on the metal band Killswitch Engage upcoming U.S. headline tour, set to begin June 9 in Philadelphia.
Calls placed to Meggan Lambesis and representatives for Tim Lambesis were not immediately returned. It was not clear whether Lambesis had hired an attorney.
Lambesis is currently being held at the Vista Detention Facility and will be arraigned Thursday at 1:30 p.m., according to the San Diego district attorney's office.
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