Mendocino County sheriff’s officials found a dead man and signs of what appeared to be an interrupted marijuana heist and shootout at a set of clandestine pot gardens in the Anderson Valley that left one man dead, another wounded and two men jailed on suspicion of murder and robbery.
Pot plants had been chopped down, then apparently abandoned, at the site tucked into a remote, wooded portion of private property about a half-mile off Highway 128 near Yorkville in southern Mendocino County, according to new details in the case revealed Tuesday.
Detectives tracked two suspects to Cloverdale: 26-year-old Isidro Lopez-Bernal of Ukiah was arrested late Sunday at a hotel, and Mario Godinez, 25, of Cloverdale was arrested at a residence before dawn Monday, Capt. Greg Van Patten said.
Both men were booked into the Mendocino County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $500,000 bail on suspicion of robbery and murder, jail records show.
A 25-year-old Windsor man who was shot multiple times was rescued by deputies and airlifted to a hospital Sunday morning and was expected to survive, Van Patten said.
The dead man was found on a short trail connecting two marijuana gardens, which collectively had about 200 plants, some cut down and others still in the ground, Van Patten said.
An autopsy was scheduled to take place Tuesday on the dead man, who Van Patten described as Hispanic. The body had what appeared to be at least one gunshot wound and possibly more, he said.
The investigation began at 7:18 a.m. Sunday when a woman called 911 and said she received a phone call from the Windsor man, who told her he had been shot in a pot garden near the community of Yorkville southeast of Boonville, authorities said.
She gave deputies his cellphone number, and he answered their call but couldn’t describe his exact location. Using sirens and the sound of a helicopter to help the man direct deputies to his location, they found him about a half-mile from the road at 9:49 a.m., Van Patten said.
The man was flown to a undisclosed hospital.
The Windsor man apparently had been shot in or near the pot garden and fled, able to hike some distance out of the garden to the location where he was found in a heavily wooded area near the 37000 block of Highway 128 southeast of Yorkville, Van Patten said.
Deputies hiked about a quarter- mile over mountainous terrain from where the man was found to the clandestine garden site. Investigators suspect the garden to be an illegal trespass operation on private property with the property owner unaware, Van Patten said. They also found a rugged campsite there.
Anyone with information about the case can call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 234-2100.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.