Petaluma woman arrested in murder case
The arrest of a religious goods saleswoman in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a Santa Rosa businessman — possibly due to a bad business deal — is the latest development in a tangled web of crimes last spring in Napa and Sonoma counties.
Angela Martinez Arias, 41, of Petaluma is one of four people Napa County sheriff’s detectives say were involved with the disappearance and death of Reynaldo Pacheco, 44.
Pacheco disappeared in March, and nine days later, his bound body was found in a remote creek bed east of Napa County’s Lake Hennessey. He’d been bludgeoned to death with rocks, according to a Napa County coroner’s report on the case.
Napa detectives Wednesday afternoon picked up Arias at her Rohnert Park business, Botanica Ile Oshun Elegua, a shop with an amalgam of religious items behind a dingy storefront on Southwest Boulevard. She was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Pacheco and helping carjack his Range Rover, Napa County Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Pike said.
Her arrest comes almost nine months after two Napa men were charged with Pacheco’s kidnapping, carjacking and killing — Mauricio Tovar-Telles, 24, and Norberto Guerrero Gonzalez, 29. Authorities believe the men assisted another man, now dead, in the slaying. They were arrested last spring and currently are in custody, awaiting court proceedings.
The woman had been a person of interest in the case and detectives spent months sorting out her role, said Pike, who supervises violent crime investigations.
Pacheco’s wife reported him missing after he left his Santa Rosa home March 24, saying he’d gone to a business meeting and didn’t return. Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives began looking for him, talking to family and business contacts.
While Pacheco still was missing, Arias was believed to be “the last person to have seen him,” Pike said. She initially told investigators Pacheco had come to her business the day he disappeared, but that he had left.
But when the man turned up dead, detectives went back to Arias. Investigators said they discovered that Pacheco owed her money and that she’d taken him that last morning to a rural Sonoma County area where they met two other men. He subsequently was kidnapped, taken to Napa County and killed, Pike said.
According to investigators, Pacheco had been involved in a business scam known as WCM777, or Kingdom 777. Early last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it to be an illegal pyramid scheme targeting Asian and Latino communities worldwide. Assets were frozen.
Pacheco apparently had gotten Arias to invest an undisclosed amount of money in Kingdom 777, according to detectives. Pacheco “owed her money from a failed business relationship,” Pike said.
In the days after Pacheco’s family reported him missing, Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives sought the public’s help in the disappearance of the Santa Rosa husband, father and businessman.
Then on April 2, the case unexpectedly turned into a Napa County homicide investigation with information given by a man holed up in a Kenwood trailer during a tense, 19-hour standoff with an army of SWAT officers.
The man, Miguel Angel Garcia, 32, of Napa, was a suspect in a recent weapons and shooting case in Napa and had a long history of criminal convictions, including on drug, domestic violence and other charges.