Santiago Villalba Mederos Alias “Pucho” Wanted for 2010 Murder in Tacoma, Washington
UPDATE: An alleged gang member on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list suspected of killing two people was arrested in Mexico and brought to Los Angeles Friday evening to await trial.
Santiago “Pucho” Villalba Mederos was arrested Friday, his 29th birthday, in Tenancingo, Mexico, near Mexico City, according to the FBI.
Mederos, a member of the Eastside Lokotes Sureno gang, was wanted for allegedly killing two people in Tacoma, Washington.
In February 2010, Mederos allegedly fired multiple shots into a random car killing a 20-year-old woman and wounding her brother, the FBI said.
The next month, he allegedly fired a single shot toward bystanders, which killed a 21-year-old man, according to the FBI.
The cases were investigated by the Tacoma Police Department, and in September 2016, a federal arrest warrant was issued after he fled to avoid prosecution, according to the FBI. On Sept. 25, 2017, he was placed on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
“This arrest is a result of good old-fashioned detective work and a great collaborative effort with our federal and international partners. Hopefully, the families of Mederos’ victims will finally see a resolution for these senseless acts,” said Raymond P. Duda, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office.
Mederos was flown to Los Angeles Friday evening, and he was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday to face a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Mederos will be tried for the fatal shootings in Pierce County (Washington) Superior Court.
Jail records show Maderos was booked just before 6 p.m. on an investigation of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Five hundred and twenty-three suspects have been on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list since it was created in 1950, and 489 have been apprehended or located, according to the FBI. Mederos was the 515th person to be placed on the list.
Santiago Villalba Mederos, a member of the violent Eastside Lokotes Sureno gang, is Wanted for 2010 Murder in Tacoma, Washington.
According to the FBI, Mederos is wanted in connection with two separate shootings in Tacoma that resulted in the death of a young woman and the serious wounding of her brother, and a month later, the murder of a young man. Mederos was a teenager at the time of the killings.
“To have committed two homicides at such a young age shows how violent he was and how violent the gang was,” said Special Agent Terry Postma from the FBI’s Seattle Division. “The younger gang members tried to earn respect from the older guys by these extreme acts of violence.”
In February 2010, Mederos – who goes by the nickname “Pucho” – allegedly fired multiple shots into a random car, killing a 20-year-old woman and wounding her brother.
The following month, during a robbery that turned into a fight when bystanders became involved, Mederos allegedly fired a single gunshot toward the group, striking and killing a 21-year-old innocent bystander, the FBI says.
“In both the cases he’s wanted for, none of the victims had anything to do with gangs,” said Steve Reopelle, a homicide detective with the Tacoma Police Department who has investigated both murders.
Based on witness reports, it is believed that Mederos, who was 19 years old at the time, fled to Mexico after the murders. He may have returned to the U.S. since 2010, which is why investigators are looking for the public’s assistance in both countries.
Mederos is charged with first- and second-degree murder in Washington state, and he also faces a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Postma called Mederos “extremely dangerous and a threat to the community, wherever he is.”
Mederos, now 26 years old, speaks English and Spanish. He is known to have ties to the states of Guerrero and Morelos in Mexico, FBI officials said. He also has ties to Washington state.
He is approximately 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes, and distinguishing tattoos: the letter “S” on his left shoulder and the letter “E” on his right shoulder.
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