A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer is under federal investigation for allegedly smuggling methamphetamine and suboxone into a Washington State prison for her boyfriend, a member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips street gang who is serving 69 years for shooting and killing a homeless man at a Seattle bus shelter, according to an FBI search warrant application obtained by The Daily Beast.
Officer Melissa Mesa, who has yet to be charged with a crime, is accused of sneaking the illicit substances into Washington State’s Clallam Bay Corrections Center at the request of her alleged love interest, Say Keodara. The two reportedly met through Mesa’s son, who had previously been locked up at the same facility, the document states.
In 2013, Keodara was convicted of murder for a 2011 shooting that left three other victims wounded. Prosecutors said Keodara opened fire on his four victims during a botched robbery at a bus shelter, reportedly because he was “angry that none had money or valuables to give him.”
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said Keodara, who had 10 juvenile felony convictions and went by the street name “Psycho,” joined the Rollin’ 60s Crips when he was 13 and set out “to prove himself as a hit man for fellow gang members.” Keodara’s estimated release date is Oct. 2, 2054.
Criminal misconduct by CBP officers and members of the U.S. Border Patrol, which is part of CBP, recently hit a five-year high. The crimes ranged from corruption to child pornography to vehicular homicide to capital murder. A 2015 audit by CBP’s integrity advisory panel found that “arrests for corruption of CBP personnel far exceed, on a per capita basis, such arrests at other federal law enforcement agencies.” Corruption at the border is a problem severe enough for the FBI to have a dedicated task force solely for the purpose of identifying crooked CBP officers and Border Patrol agents. As The Daily Beast first reported, CBP officer Rhonda Lee Walker was arrested last month for allegedly using another officer’s computer login to sneak her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico after circumventing COVID-19 non-essential travel restrictions by scheduling an appointment for the woman to donate plasma at a clinic in Texas.
Jenn Budd, a former senior Border Patrol agent turned critic who now advocates for the undocumented, told The Daily Beast that the case “once again shows how poor the hiring standards and follow up background checks that are supposed to be done every five years are inadequate to stem the tide of corruption in the agency...Once again it’s not the agency that rooted out this corruption but an outside agency, showing CBP cannot be trusted to police themselves.”
In an email, a CBP spokesperson told The Daily Beast, “Melissa Mesa’s employment with CBP has been terminated. CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP officers/agents perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. CBP fully cooperates with all criminal and administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, whether it occurs on or off duty. The investigation is ongoing and we have nothing further to add at this time.”
Mesa first came to the attention of state investigators in May 2020, when a confidential source told the Washington Department of Correction about an ongoing drug trafficking conspiracy inside CBCC. The ring was made up of inmates, staff members, and members of the community on the outside, the warrant states.
When correctional officials discovered that Keodara was romantically involved with Mesa, they called in the FBI.
“During their relationship, Keodara asked Mesa to meet with individuals in the community in order to obtain illegal drugs and illegally obtained prescription drugs for the purpose of passing the drugs to others for introduction into CBCC,” the warrant application states. “Keodara also asked Mesa to conduct financial transactions on his behalf in furtherance of the drug conspiracy.”
As is usually the case in situations like this, a dirty correctional officer on the inside allegedly helped facilitate the transactions. “So, I’m ready to rock ASAP,” read a note found in the officer’s car during a search by investigators, the warrant says. “There’s no need to worry about anything on this end...we keep our hands clean over here and everyone gets taken care of. We make sure family is first and everyone is eating! (smiley face emoji) And we stay away from the phones—that’s always the #1 concern.”
In fact, it was a series of phone calls that ultimately did them in. In a June 2020 jailhouse call between the two—one of the more than 500 recorded conversations investigators say they have gathered—Mesa and Keodara argued about their relationship.
“I risked my fucking ass for your ass,” Mesa told Keodara, according to the warrant. In another call 90 minutes later, she allegedly said, “You know I jeopardized my career, my livelihood, my life for you, for this bullshit...” In a third, Mesa reportedly asked Keodara, “How much did I fucking carry around...of that bullshit...how much huh? Enough to put me how long away?”
Mesa used a prepaid burner phone to communicate with Keodara, investigators say. To mask her true identity, she reportedly registered the device under the name “Syke Sixten.” The two spoke normally when discussing their relationship and other subjects, but would “intentionally talk in vague terms and use code words when they appear to be discussing drugs and financial transactions.”
The previous month, during another call recorded by investigators, Mesa and Keodara can be heard discussing a meetup between Mesa and someone named “Shay,” who would supply Mesa with 125 suboxone strips. (Suboxone is a prescription drug used to treat opioid use disorder, and is similar to methadone.) The two referred to the substance as “groceries,” and got into a heated argument after Keodara learned Mesa had met with Shay in person, the warrant says.
In subsequent calls, Keodara allegedly instructed Mesa to send money to others, including someone known as “Shanky” and another associate named Pedro. At one point, in an apparent reference to drugs, Keodara reportedly asks Mesa if she would be “ok with holding everything from here on out?” Later, the two talk in code about what investigators believe to be methamphetamine.
“Do you remember the last time you fucking went to the bakery?” Keodara asks, according to the warrant.
“Yeah,” Mesa allegedly replies.
“When you got done making the muffins, or whatever, did they come out in crumbles or was it the whole muffin?” says Keodara.
“It was the whole muffin,” Mesa responds.
“It wasn’t broken apart or nothing, it was just all one?” Keodara asks again.
“Yeah,” says Mesa.
But the relationship appeared to be fraying. In a series of phone calls last July 4, Mesa allegedly told Keodara that her meth supplier took off with $1,200 and never came back with the goods.
“This led to an altercation between Keodara and Mesa over the stolen money,” the warrant filing says. “Later in the day, Mesa tells Keodara she obtained approximately one ounce of what was believed to be methamphetamine while at a casino.”
Multiple online transactions reviewed by investigators bolstered their suspicions, including $2,500 Mesa sent to a Cash App account with the username “$$Crip60.”
Mesa does not have a lawyer listed in court records and was unable to be reached for comment.