Police: Drug debt may have been reason for Ebey Island killing

Kevin Nieto Mejia, 29, was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in late February. Detectives continue to investigate.

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EVERETT — A late February killing near Everett may have been over drug debt, according to newly obtained court documents.

Little has been released about Kevin Nieto Mejia’s slaying Feb. 27 on Ebey Island. Even the 29-year-old victim’s name wasn’t made public until now.

But multiple search warrants from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office shed light on the circumstances leading up to his death in an apparent drive-by shooting that afternoon.

On Feb. 24, Nieto Mejia, another man and a woman contacted a man and offered him $1,000 and 50 fentanyl-laced pills to bring them to Washington from the area of Eugene, Oregon, one of the men told investigators.

The four of them first drove to Portland, where the woman left the group. The three men reportedly continued north and spent Friday and Saturday night at a Kirkland motel.

On Sunday, they drove to the U.S. 2 trestle near Everett, according to the warrants. They spent between 30 and 45 minutes under the trestle, waiting. Nieto Mejia paced as if he was waiting for someone to arrive.

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 away 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 then drove away.

Shortly after, a black BMW passed, dropping off a man who then walked toward a driveway. The gold Yukon then pulled up and multiple gunshots “went off,” the witness reported. The SUV then 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.

Snohomish County detectives suspect that Nieto Mejia’s killing might be related to drug debts.

On March 1, a sheriff’s deputy was on an unrelated traffic stop when he saw a black BMW behind him. The deputy followed it to the 2300 block of 116th Street SW.

Police reportedly saw a man carry an AR-15-style rifle to the BMW. A deputy found some buildup near the rifle’s muzzle, suggesting it had been fired recently. When police told the man they believe the BMW had been involved in a homicide, he didn’t seem surprised, a sergeant reported.

The man was arrested for investigation of firearm violations. After posting bail, he was released after about 15 hours in the Snohomish County Jail, according to booking records. The BMW was impounded.

On March 2, a search of the home on 116th Street uncovered a black canvas bag hidden under a staircase, according to a search warrant. It reportedly contained heroin, methamphetamine, a few thousand fentanyl-laced pills and an unidentified white powder.

No arrests have been made in Nieto Mejia’s killing. The sheriff’s office continued to investigate this month. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office had not confirmed his cause and manner of death as of last week.

People with information about the case can contact the sheriff’s office at 425-388-3845.

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

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