Authorities seek armed group who pistol whipped, punched pair on Willits-area marijuana farm

Deputies were searching Wednesday for a group of men suspected of punching and pistol whipping two people at a Willits-area marijuana grow, tying them up and then stealing 15 pounds of marijuana bud from the property.

The armed robbery took place before dawn Tuesday on String Creek Road off Hearst Willits Road northeast of Willits, authorities said.

The victims were woken up by six men, each of whom carried a gun and wore black clothing and masks, the Sheriff’s Office said. The group physically assaulted the pair, tied their hands behind their back and then forced them to walk to a barn on the property.

There, the group grabbed the marijuana, fastened the two men to the barn and fled on foot with the bud in tow, authorities said. One of the victims broke free from his restraints and alerted a third person on the property, who had been sleeping, about the robbery.

Authorities got a 911 call about the crime at 3:46 a.m. Tuesday, shortly after the victim broke free.

A search of the area ensued, but none of the suspects was found. Deputies suspect the group may have entered and fled from a wooded area on the southwest side of the property.

Anyone with information may call the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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