Three men who allegedly were tending a marijuana garden near Healdsburg were charged in Sonoma County Superior Court this afternoon with murder. Sidonio Cruz-Santos, 35, Agustin Zepeda-Onofre, 23, and Ramon Lopez-Velasco, 28, delayed entering pleas to the murder of Gabino Lopez-Santiago, 46, and will return in court Thursday morning.
Ramon Lopez-Velasco is the brother-in-law of Gabino Lopez-Santiago, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Carlos Basurto said this morning. The three defendants were allegedly growing marijuana in the area of 4000 Chemise Road in unincorporated Sonoma County west of Healdsburg, Basurto said. In addition to murder, they have been charged with cultivating marijuana. Gabino Lopez-Santiago was not involved in the grow operation but went to the garden on Saturday, Basurto said.
An argument ensued and as Lopez-Santiago fled, he was shot at least once in his upper torso, Basurto said. Lopez-Santiago’s body was found by a passerby several miles away on Sunday in the 5900 block of Mill Creek Road, the sheriff’s office said. Lopez-Velasco reported the murder to the Healdsburg Police Department, Basurto said.
The complaint filed by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office charges him with being an accessory to a crime. Cruz-Santos also is charged with using force or threat of force to dissuade a witness, Deputy District Attorney Anne Masterson said this afternoon.
All three men, who are originally from Mexico, were arrested Sunday. Cruz-Santos was living in Santa Rosa, Lopez-Velasco was living in Healdsburg and Zepeda-Onofre was living in Windsor.
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