General Crime

* Second Pot Grow Murder Victim Identified as Jose Gumercindo Avila Zuniga

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The Napa County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the second of two men found murdered at a marijuana grow near Rutherford last month. Jose Gumercindo Avila Zuniga, 29, of Santa Rosa, was identified by comparing his DNA to his brother’s DNA, sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said. Dental records were used to identify the other victim as 43-year-old Wilfredo Ronaldo Rivas-Velazquez, who had been reported missing in June to Santa Rosa police, Stuart said.

Both victims were El Salvador natives, sheriff’s Detective Chris Carlisle said. The sheriff’s office is not disclosing how the men were killed. They were found dead July 1 at a marijuana grow containing 3,000 immature plants around two feet tall in the hills west of Rutherford. Narcotics agents uprooted the plants several days later. Investigators believe the slayings occurred the week of June 21, and have identified 21-year-old Carlos Perez as a person of interest in the case. He is still at large. Perez is believed to have walked from the Rutherford area to Napa sometime between 9 p.m. on June 21 and 8 a.m. on June 22, and the sheriff’s office is asking anyone who may have seen him to call investigators. Perez also might have taken a bus to Vallejo.

Investigators arrested Carlos Guerrero, 45, of Boonville in Mendocino County, on July 7 in connection with the growing operation, but he is not believed to have been involved in the murders. Guerrero was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana and being a felon in possession of firearms. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10.

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