Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2019

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Police: Las Vegas drug dealer held in January slaying of associate

Mateo Marcos Diaz-Ibarra


Mateo Marcos Diaz-Ibarra

Updated Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 6:19 p.m.

An admitted drug dealer, Mateo Marcos Diaz-Ibarra was known to carry a gun. An associate described him to police as “erratic” and “quick to anger.”

Diaz-Ibarra had pulled out a gun and threatened that associate in the east valley sometime in 2018, he told Metro Police.

Months later, not far from that Las Vegas neighborhood, another associate of Diaz-Ibarra turned up with four fatal gunshot wounds, police said.

Eric Demarco Nelson, 28, died on Jan. 25.

Multiple people heard the blasts, yet no one called 911, police said.

Instead — 31 to 41 minutes later — a passerby found Nelson lying on a sidewalk in the 1100 block of Newport Street and summoned police and medics at 8:11 a.m.

Metro officers performed CPR, but Nelson died at the scene near Washington Avenue and Pecos Road.

Diaz-Ibarra, who described himself as Nelson’s friend, was arrested on May 15 in the 2100 block of East Rochelle Avenue, police announced today. He was booked on a murder count.

Diaz-Ibarra spoke to homicide detectives in March and tripped over his alibi, which was reportedly disproven, police said. GPS tracking on his phone, surveillance video that captured his vehicle near the crime scene, and gun store receipts led to his arrest.

Metro’s months-long investigation is summarized in a nine-page warrant affidavit. It wasn’t clear if police ever found a possible motive for the killing, but here’s what they learned:

Diaz-Ibarra purportedly supplied drugs, and Nelson and another associate would sell them, police said.

Several of Nelson’s friends told Metro detectives that the victim used to frequent the Las Vegas Strip where would stay and where he sold the “illegal narcotics,” police said.

Four days after the slaying, detectives learned that Diaz-Ibarra had apparently threatened one of their sources because he’d spoken with them, police said.

In his interview with detectives, Diaz-Ibarra was “very nervous,” police said. He denied ever owning the type of weapon used in Nelson’s slaying (a .45-caliber gun), police said.

But receipts recovered by police showed that in December he’d bought .45-caliber ammunition with the same head stamps found on the spent bullets found at the murder scene, police said.

Diaz-Ibarra did admit to buying a .40-caliber gun, which detectives found out was purchased hours after the slaying, according to the report.

In his alibi, Diaz-Ibarra said he’d gone to the Strip the night before the slaying, (where Nelson was also reported to be) but that he was home about 3 a.m., police said.

However, cellphone towers pinged Diaz-Ibarra at the murder scene around the same time after sunrise, police said. Additionally, surveillance video captured his small red pickup truck in the area as well, police said.

A warrant for his arrest was issued May 7, four days after authorities filed a criminal complaint, Las Vegas Justice Court records show.

On March 20 — the day he was interviewed by detectives — Diaz-Ibarra went to a gun store and tried to buy a weapon, police said.

His application was denied “because he was acting erratic and they did not feel comfortable selling (him) a firearm,” police said.