King County prosecutors say the suspect killed a reputed drug dealer who owed him money and was suspected of being a federal informant.
A no-bail warrant was issued Wednesday for a Kent man accused of killing another man in May because the suspect thought the victim was an informant in a federal drug case, according to King County prosecutors.
Juan Felipe Galeana-Madrigal, who turns 32 on Thursday, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 29-year-old Francisco Mendoza on May 7 in Kirkland, charging papers say.
Galeana-Madrigal has been wanted on a warrant since July, when he failed to appear for arraignment on unrelated felony domestic-violence charges, say the charges filed in connection with Mendoza’s homicide.
Galeana-Madrigal is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 5 and 130 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, Kirkland police said in a news release. Police say Galeana-Madrigal typically wears a goatee and has the word “Familia” tattooed on the right side of his head.
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Galeana-Madrigal — who goes by the street name “Pelon” and uses the alias Jose Gerardo De Dios Medrano — was last known to be in Southern California’s Palm Desert area in September, the news release says. Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to call 911. Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
According to charging papers, Mendoza was shot twice in the head at close range May 7 at his home in the 9700 block of Northeast 138th Place in Kirkland where the men were eating takeout from a McDonald’s restaurant.
“The defendant deliberately executed the victim by shooting him twice in the head at close range because the victim owed him money and because he suspected that the victim was a ‘snitch’ who had cooperated with law enforcement in a federal narcotics investigation,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Berliner wrote in charging documents.
Kirkland police say Mendoza sold heroin and meth that he obtained from Galeana-Madrigal, according to the charges.
A neighbor called 911 to report hearing shots fired and told officers that a man had left the cul-de-sac in a white pickup moments later, charging papers say.
At the scene, police found five shell casings and noticed two McDonald’s meals on a table next to the chair where Mendoza had been seated, charging papers say.
Statements from Mendoza’s housemates and other confidential witnesses, along with video surveillance footage from a nearby McDonald’s restaurant as well as from businesses near the Tulalip Casino helped police identify Galeana-Madrigal as a suspect, the charges say.
Three days after the shooting, police found Mendoza’s truck abandoned at an apartment complex across from the Kingsgate Park-and-Ride. Two days later, Galeana-Madrigal’s pickup was found abandoned in Auburn after it was involved in a hit-and-run accident, the charges say.
Two witnesses said that after Mendoza’s death Galeana-Madrigal referred to him as “a rat” and admitted to shooting him, the papers say.