The FBI and Tacoma Police Department are offering a cash reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect wanted in two murders.
On Feb. 7, 2010, detectives say Santiago “Pucho” Villalba Mederos was looking to retaliate against rival gang members when he encountered a brother and sister in their car, chased them and fired multiple shots into the vehicle. The two innocent victims were not involved in gang activity and police say he targeted them solely because of the color of their vehicle. The 18-year-old girl was killed and her brother seriously wounded.
Mederos was also allegedly involved in the murder of another innocent man on March 25, 2010. Prosecutors say he and other gang members went to collect money from a person they knew. According to investigators, Mederos and other gang members broke into and ransacked that person's vehicle. Several innocent bystanders observed this situation and confronted the group. A fight ensued in which Mederos allegedly fired a single gunshot toward the bystanders, striking and killing an innocent 25-year-old man.
"These crimes that were committed, we don't forget about them and we seek justice for the victims of these homicides, so it's important for us to find them and bring them back to face the charges," said FBI Special Agent Terry Postma.
Mederos is facing a slew of charges in Pierce County Superior Court including murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree.
The FBI believes Mederos may be in Mexico. He speaks English and Spanish. Mederos is known to have family living in the Las Grutas, Guerrero and Cuernavaca, Morelos areas of Mexico and also has ties to Washington. On Sept. 30, 2016, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Mederos after he was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
"This has been a lengthy investigation and we believe there are people in the local area who are aware of his whereabouts and we're hoping that this reward will provide incentive for them to come forth with the information that they have," said Postma.
Call 1 (800) CALLFBI (225-5324) or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) TIPS if you have any information to help locate Mederos. This is one of the cases being featured this weekend on “Washington's Most Wanted,” Friday night at 11 p.m. on Q13 FOX and Saturday night at 9:30 on JOEtv and 10:30 on Q13 FOX.