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  1. #1
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    CA - Jeffrey Settler, 35, slain at his Laytonville pot farm, 11 Nov 2016

    At 3:39 PM on 11 November 2016, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were summoned to the 49000 block of CA Highway 101 in Laytonville CA. The property in question was five miles up a dirt driveway that ran west from 101 to the rear portion of Black Oak Ranch.

    Jeffrey Quinn Settler, age 35, had been killed at his commercial plantation by some of the “trimmigrant” workers he had imported from out of state to process his marijuana. These seven or eight laborers had still been working for him until just before the homicide. They returned during the night of November 10th, and found him sleeping in his marijuana storage shed. After they set upon him and killed him, they left with over 100 pounds of cured salable marijuana.

    The suspects fled in a number of vehicles. One was a blue 2015 or 2017 VW Golf sedan, Virginia tag #VHR5611, with twin lightning bolts portrayed on the gas cap. There is also a 1999 Honda Accord, CA tag # 7LPN823, and a 2005 Volvo XC70, CA tag # 7TVT318. Another suspect vehicle is described as a white Toyota Camry.

    Jeffrey's body was found by another worker remaining on Settler's property. The worker had to hike several miles into Laytonville to call for help.

    Responding deputies at first believed a young mother among the trimmigrants had been kidnapped, along with her small child. However, they quickly ascertained mother and child were safe. A cold driving rain was pouring down upon the crime site. Processing of the crime scene was delayed until the following day.

    On the evening of 16 November, suspect Zachary Ryan Wuester of Haskell NJ surrendered in Willits CA and has been arraigned. On 23 November 2016, Gary Lynn “Giggles” Fitzgerald of Roanoke IL gave up and was booked for suspicion of murder. Abdirrahman “Richie” Mohamad was also picked up, in San Diego.

    Suspects still being sought are Frederick “Freddy” 27, Clifton NJ; Gary Blank III, 34, Elgin IL; Jesse Wells, 32, Binghamton NY; Michael Kane, 25, Pleasantville NY. All suspects are described as white males.

    So far, the charges being pressed are murder and kidnapping. California law establishes the law of parties—that is, all parties to a crime are equally responsible for the offense. Triggerman, lookout, instigator of a homicide—doesn't matter. All can be held guilty of the offense in question. And California has a stringent definition of kidnapping; convictions have been secured for moving a victim just a few feet, or detaining them only a short period of time.

    This is obviously still a developing case. Further information could be crucial. Information concerning this case may be called in to the MCSO Tipline at 707-234-2100. Their Investigative Services Bureau may be emailed at barneys@co.mendocino.ca.us. The Sheriff's Office can also be reached at 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.

    Don't play hero if you spot these folks. Call the cops!

    Sources:

    The Mendocino Voice, 11/13 November 2016: http://mendovoice.com/2016/11/homici...r-laytonville/

    Redheaded Blackbelt, 12 November 2016: http:kymkemp.com/2016/11/12/woman-and-child-sought-in-connection-with-homicide-north-of-laytonville-in-bay-area/

    The Ukiah (CA) Daily Journal, 13 November 2016: http://www/ukiahdailyhournal.com/art...plate=printart

    Redheaded Blackbelt, 13 November 2016: http:kymkemp.com/2016/11/13/trimmers-tagged-as-suspects-in-laytonville-homicide-by-mendocino-sheriffs-office/

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 14 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/62545#5

    Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat, 14 November 2016: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/63...ing?artslide=0

    Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat, 15 November 2016: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6310530-181/father-of-slain-laytonville-pot?artslide=0

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 15 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/62579#6

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 17 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/62712#1

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 18 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/62741#3

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 23 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/62922

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 25 November 2016

    Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat, 25 November 2016: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6367691-181/second-suspect-booked-in-laytonville?artslide=0

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 30 November 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/63110#2

    Willits (CA) Weekly, 25 November 2016,1 and 8 December 2016

    Anderson Valley (CA) Advertiser, 9 December 2016: http://www.theava.com/archives/63462#1

  2. #2
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    What is a trimmigrant?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N915A using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Trimmigrants

    As defined in the original post, a trimmigrant is a laborer on a marijuana farm. These laborers trim marijuana buds from the mature plants to prepare them for sale.

  4. #4
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    Immigrant trimmers come to court

    Six of the seven suspects in this homicide have been arrested. On 7 March 2017, the marijuana trimmers appeared in court for plea entry. The Mendocino Sheriff's office put forth a lot of effort to round up these hombres. Although one (Gary Fitzgerald) was arrested locally in Ukiah on 25 November, others were gathered in from far and wide. Abdirahman Said Mohamed was busted in San Diego on Pearl Harbor Day. Michael Kane was detained at the Mexican border in January. On 24 February 2017, Jesse Cole Wells was caught in South Lake Tahoe. Frederick Gaestel, an Illinois native, is fighting extradition from Williamsburg Virginia. Zachary Wuester was also busted, location unknown. Ironically, the only local (Gary Cricket Blank III of Garberville) among the suspects remains at large. No news yet of a trial date. In other words, a typical Mendocino murder.

    Given the limited resources of our local LE, this investigation is a terrific performance.

  5. #5
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    Source for above.

    No link available for the above. The article ran on the front page of the Ukiah Daily Journal, 7 March 2017. Court proceedings reported were held on 2 March.

  6. #6
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    http://www.mendovoice.com/2017/03/fi...spect-settler/
    Final suspect caught in Settler killing; Gary Louis Blank arrested in New Jersey
    Anonymous tips led Mendocino officials to collaborate with law enforcement in several eastern states
    MENDOCINO Co., 3/11/17 — Gary Louis Blank III, 34, the seventh and final suspect in the killing of Jeffrey Settler, a Laytonville area cannabis grower, has been apprehended in New Jersey. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office detectives are traveling to New Jersey to follow up, and begin the process of extradition to California to stand trial. […]

  7. #7
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    http://www.mendovoice.com/2017/03/fi...spect-settler/

    press release:
    DATE: “March 11, 2017”
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    Incident Number:
    2016-35123
    Crime/Incident:
    187 PC [Murder UPDATE]
    Location:
    49000 block of North Highway 101 in Laytonville, CA
    Date of Incident:
    11-11-2016
    Time:
    3:39 PM
    Victim(s):
    Jeffrey Quinn Settler (35 year-old male from Bethel Island, California)
    Suspect(s):
    Gary Louis Blank III (34 year-old male from Garberville, Ca)
    Written By:
    Detective Sergeant Andrew Porter
    Synopsis:
    BACKGROUND
    On 11-11-2016 at 3:39 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to a reported man who had been murdered on a remote property located in the 49000 block of North Highway 101 in Laytonville, California.
    The property was a rural parcel approximately 5 miles from Highway 101, on a dirt road that traveled in a westerly direction. Deputies responded to the scene confirming there was a male adult who was obviously deceased as a result of what appeared to be a violent assault. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Detectives were summoned to the scene, along with Investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office and Criminalists from the California Department of Justice.
    During the investigation it was determined the deceased male adult, Jeffrey Quinn Settler, was operating a commercial marijuana growing operation on the property. In the early morning hours of 11-11-2016 (Thursday), multiple subjects who had been recently employed by Settler as marijuana trimmers returned to the property in the middle of the night with the intent to commit robbery of processed marijuana. The investigation has revealed the subjects knew the marijuana was stored in the same structure where Settler slept and the subjects violently assaulted him during the robbery, causing his death. The subjects were believed to have fled the property in at least two vehicles and were believed to have stolen over 100 pounds of processed marijuana. The suspects were believed to have fled to Southern California or out of state.
    In all seven suspects were identified and subsequent felony arrest warrants were sought.
    Prior to 03-10-2017, six of the suspects were in custody and awaiting prosecution for homicide or in the process of being extradited to Mendocino County.
    UPDATED INFORMATION
    In late February and early March of 2017, Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were in communication with numerous state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in multiple states in efforts to try and locate and arrest Gary Louis Blank III (AKA Cricket). This included agencies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey as information had been provided by anonymous sources that Blank had been provided a ride from Southern California towards the northeast.
    On March 10th, 2017, at approximately 9:07 PM (Pacific Standard Time), Mendocino County Sheriff’s Detectives were notified by Detectives from the New Jersey State Police that they had good information about Blank’s whereabouts. At 9:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time) the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the New Jersey State Police that they had located and arrested Gary Blank III at residence in the Borough of Red Bank, New Jersey. Blank was arrested without incident and subsequently booked into the Mercer County (NJ) Jail on the Mendocino County Superior Court NO BAIL arrest warrant, for murder.
    Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office detectives are traveling to New Jersey to follow up on the arrest. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will work with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office and the State of New Jersey to have Blank extradited to Mendocino County for prosecution on Jeffrey Settler’s murder. This arrest concludes a 4 month apprehension effort to locate and arrest the seven suspects.
    The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our appreciation to the New Jersey State Police and the Toledo Ohio Police Department for their assistance on this case.
    Approved by:
    Captain Gregory L. Van Patten

  8. #8
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    And the last POI hits the slammer.

    What great news! Thank you, Sergeant Porter and Captain Van Patten, for the update. And thank you, Floridian, for posting their press release.

  9. #9
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    Toxic human imports

    So I went back through the hard copy of those links I posted above, and took some notes. Let me share them with you.

    POIs Zachary Wuester and Frederick Gaestel came from New Jersey to trim pot in Mendocino County.

    POIs Gary Fitzgerald and Gary Blank III came from Illinois to trim pot in Mendocino County.

    POIs Jesse Wells and Michael Kane traveled all the way from New York to trim pot in Mendocino County.

    POI Abdirrahman Mohamed moved 500 miles north from San Diego County to trim pot in Mendocino County.

    Kidnap victim AW is from Virginia. She also came cross-country to trim pot in Mendocino County.

    The deceased, grower Jeffrey Quinn Settler, from Bethel Island, Contra Costa County is a native of Lubbock TX.

    Since Settler was killed in Mendocino County by the trimmers he imported, Mendocino County is stuck with the burden of a complex far-ranging investigation and seven prosecutions.

  10. #10
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    LoCO's article about the capture of Gary Louis "Cricket" Blank III. Scary looking dude. Great work capturing all of them. Now the long road to trial begins.

    https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/ma...enth-and-fina/
    FOUR YEARS IS 1460 DAYS TOO LONG!!
    SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE KNOWS SOMETHING! SPEAK UP!
    STEPHANIE ANNE WARNER, 43, RUCH, OREGON

    MISSING & PRESUMED MURDERED July 4, 2013
    LENNIE AMES NAMED SUSPECT
    Anonymous Tips? Reward up to $1000
    Crime Stoppers of So. Oregon 800-850-0580

    DISCUSSION:http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...2#post10750872


  11. #11
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    Now how about the others?

    Now if we could only clear up other local homicide cold cases involving illegal marijuana cultivation....

    I am thinking of:

    Chris Giaque http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino;

    Reverend Les Crane http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino;

    Michelle Oglethorpe http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino;

    David Virgil Neily and Donald James Cavanaugh http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino;

    Daniel William Southers http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino;

    Jurgen Knemeyer http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ight=Mendocino.

    Come on, Websleuthers! Crowdsourcing info on these cases may be to key to solving them.

  12. #12
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    Later update

    Latest on Settler homicide: http://theava.com/archives/70602#1

  13. #13
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    Three down, four to go

    Preliminary hearing for the Laytonville Seven.

    Three of the seven defendants in the murder of Jeffrey Settler copped identical plea bargains for 9 years in prison. In exchange for being cleared of actually stabbing Settler, they waived any credit for time already served in the Mendo hoosegow. Messieurs Wuester, Mohamed, and Fitzgerald are thus out of the mix.

    This leaves Wells, Gaestel, Blank, and Kane to face the music. The latter is blamed for the actual killing of Settler. The other six defendants are all apparently pointing their fingers at him as the knife wielder.

    Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser, 16 August 2017: htt://theava.com/archives/72250

  14. #14
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    Correction to above post

    Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser, 16 August 2017: http://theava.com/archives/72250

  15. #15
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    Update

    And of course the trio who are copping a plea are only getting their deal if they testify against the final four at trial. Prosecutor's got leverage. It remains to be seen what defense counsel may claim. But if Mendo's ace crime reporter Bruce McEwen is to be believed, everybody's finger is pointing at someones(s) else. Anyhow:

    Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser, 18 August 2017: http://theava.com/archives/72346

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