Homicide suspect arrested in separate murder-for-hire sting

New court papers connect Selvin Rosales-Sevilla, of Mountlake Terrace, to the killing of Kevin Nieto Mejia at Ebey Island.

Everett

EVERETT — A Mountlake Terrace man suspected of a February killing near Everett has been arrested in an undercover operation.

Two things brought Kevin Nieto Mejia from Oregon to Ebey Island on Feb. 27, according to police reports filed this week in Everett District Court.

Detectives believe he planned to make a drug deal for a few dozen fentanyl pills — and kill someone to satisfy a debt to Mexican drug cartels.

Instead, the 29-year-old became the victim.

Almost three months after Nieto Mejia’s death, Selvin Rosales-Sevilla, 28, was identified as a primary suspect.

According to court papers, he claimed to have carried out the killing for $5,000.

He was arrested Tuesday for investigation of a separate criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in a fake killing-for-hire plot planned by police. Rosales-Sevilla was held Thursday in the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $5 million.

‘Somebody got killed and I was there’

On Feb. 27, Nieto Mejia and two other men drove to the U.S. 2 trestle near Everett, according to search warrants obtained by The Daily Herald.

One of the three men told police he didn’t know why they were there. Eventually, a black BMW drove up. Nieto Mejia talked to someone inside. Around the same time, investigators were told, a gold SUV was driving through the area.

Nieto Mejia got in the BMW, leaving the two other men. The BMW then drove toward the 5800 block of 12th Street SE, north of the trestle, according to court papers.

Later, the BMW and SUV drove quickly past the two men. They waited another 15 or 20 minutes for Nieto Mejia to return, but he didn’t. So they drove around to look for him.

When they passed through the 5800 block around 3:30 p.m., they saw Nieto Mejia dead on the ground. There was a man next to him on the phone, likely calling 911, according to the warrants.

One witness told police he saw a gold-colored SUV driving back and forth in the area before the killing. Finding this suspicious, he and another man walked toward the SUV. But it drove away.

Then a black BMW passed, dropping off a man who walked toward a driveway. The gold SUV pulled up and multiple gunshots “went off,” the witness reported. The SUV quickly drove away, toward U.S. 2. The witness tried to follow but lost the SUV when it went toward Lake Stevens.

Ten bullet casings were recovered from the area where Nieto Mejia was shot. They were 9 mm casings, according to police.

In early April, detectives caught a break in the case. A federal agent told them that an informant worked with a man who claimed to have been involved in the Ebey Island homicide, according to a police report. A month after the slaying, the informant and the man were driving on the trestle. The man pointed toward a section of Ebey Island and said he’d been involved in a shooting there.

In a later conversation, the man reportedly said, “Somebody got killed and I was there.” When the informant asked if he killed someone, he “appeared proud” but didn’t confirm or deny his role, the informant reported.

The federal agent was able to identify the man as Rosales-Sevilla, who had reportedly been arrested in Nevada in December on allegations of trafficking nearly nine kilograms of heroin.

Rosales-Sevilla was also found to have been the owner of a gold Chevy Tahoe, matching the vehicle police believe the Ebey Island gunshots originated from, according to Snohomish County detective David Bilyeu’s report. The suspect also told the informant details of Nieto Mejia’s killing that hadn’t been publicly released.

The suspect reportedly told the informant he and the driver of the black BMW searched for security cameras in the area before the shooting. He also claimed he’d buried the gun outside a Shoreline apartment. Rosales-Sevilla mentioned he was involved in a homicide last year at a Seattle nightclub, as well, according to Bilyeu’s report.

Police then hatched a plan: Get the informant to tell Rosales-Sevilla a woman needs to hire him to kill her husband.

“In reality,” the detective wrote, “there was no female friend seeking the death of her spouse, rather the intent of this second investigative plan was for Rosales Sevilla to be interested in the ‘murder for hire’ scenario with an undercover law enforcement officer acting as the female seeking to hire a ‘hitman.’”

‘Dirty gun’

On April 29, the female detective and Rosales-Sevilla met for the first time, with the informant acting as a translator, according to court documents.

On the drive to the meeting at a restaurant, Rosales-Sevilla reportedly asked the informant, “How much are we going to charge her?” Later, he said how much he’d been paid for Nieto Mejia’s killing.

At the meeting, the detective was outfitted with a recording device while nearby officers monitored. Rosales-Sevilla told her he’d watch the husband and take him somewhere without cameras, using all of his bullets if he had to in finishing the job, according to Bilyeu’s report. Afterward, he would bury the gun.

Rosales-Sevilla reportedly noted he’d done this before. And if she truly wanted her husband killed, she’d have to pay half up front and half after the job was complete.

When it became clear he was serious, the detective gave him $500 cash.

Meanwhile, a few days later, detectives obtained a search warrant for Rosales-Sevilla’s Tahoe, which had been impounded by Auburn police weeks earlier. Inside, they found four small areas of blood splatter on the passenger side, according to the police report. Crime lab results were pending to see if that blood was Nieto Mejia’s.

On May 6, the informant told investigators that Rosales-Sevilla was anxious to speed up the timeline for the fictitious husband’s slaying, according to court papers.

On Tuesday night, the informant, the undercover detective and Rosales-Sevilla met again at a Mill Creek restaurant. On the drive over, the suspect had the informant stop at his Mountlake Terrace apartment to pick up the “dirty gun” police believe was used to kill Nieto Mejia. Also during the drive, Rosales-Sevilla reportedly said the man who had hired him for Nieto Mejia’s killing had urged him to go back to Ebey Island to look for surveillance cameras that may have captured his Tahoe in the area.

During the meeting, Rosales-Sevilla told the detective he was ready to kill her husband that evening, according to the detective’s report. She told him he’d gone out of town unexpectedly. But she brought the second $500 as payment and told him she didn’t want her husband to suffer. He responded that the husband “would not be going to the hospital.”

The detective reportedly showed him a photo of her husband and pointed out the Boeing parking lot where he parked to go to work in her made-up story. That night, they agreed to all drive to the parking lot so the detective could show Rosales-Sevilla the specific parking stall so he would kill the right person.

The informant drove Rosales-Sevilla to the parking lot. Then they went to a nearby gas station, where police planned to arrest Rosales-Sevilla. Police found two of his guns in the car, according to the police report.

In a police interview, the suspect initially denied knowing about the murder-for-hire plot. But he later conceded he’d accepted the payment and traveled to the Boeing parking lot. However, he still denied planning to kill anyone or having any guns. He also reportedly denied any role in Nieto Mejia’s homicide but acknowledged his gold Tahoe was likely caught on security footage near the scene.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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