SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Three men have been arrested for the murder of a missing Cloverdale man who may have been involved in “significant” marijuana dealing, Sonoma County prosecutors said Thursday.
Jose Martinez, 46, was missing since June 29, and his daughter thought he might have gone on a fishing trip in his white Toyota Tacoma truck, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum said.
On July 2 Martinez’s family reported him missing with the Cloverdale Police Department and a “be on the lookout” was issued to law enforcement.
Family members and friends told Cloverdale police that Martinez might have been involved in significant marijuana deals and that he had been receiving threats lately, Crum said. The family feared his disappearance was more than a missing person case and sheriff’s detectives began investigating along with Cloverdale police, Crum said.
A sheriff’s deputy found Martinez’s truck at Masterson Court and Holiday Street in Santa Rosa on Tuesday. The truck’s license plates were removed and replaced with paper dealer license plates, Crum said. The truck’s vehicle identification number showed the truck was registered to Martinez, according to Crum.
The investigation led to the identification of three suspects in Martinez’s disappearance: Socorro Sierra, 34, of Healdsburg; Felix Fernando Carreon, 43, of Santa Rosa and Climmie Smith-Hill, 30, of Santa Rosa.
Crum said detectives determined Martinez and Socorro had significant marijuana dealings, and Sierra recently threatened Martinez regarding a business transaction.
Detectives also learned Martinez went to Ray’s Food Place on Cloverdale Boulevard at 8 p.m. June 29. It’s believed three men in a dark sedan kidnapped Martinez in the front of the store and took him to the top of Geysers Road near the Calpine geothermal plant, Crum said.
Sierra allegedly walked Martinez to a remote spot near a creek and shot Martinez with a handgun, Crum said. Sierra then allegedly drove the two others to Santa Rosa.
Crum said Sierra returned to Geysers Road the next day, wrapped Martinez’s body in a tarp and drove it to a marijuana garden in the 2100 lock of West Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg.
Crum said Sierra and Carreon rented a backhoe to dig a five- to six-foot deep hole and buried Martinez.
Detectives learned about the burial site and on Wednesday recovered Martinez’s body. An autopsy by the Sonoma County coroner’s office is pending, Crum said.
Carreon was arrested July 10 near Marlow Road and Jennings Avenue in Santa Rosa on an unrelated drug charge, Crum said.
Sierra was arrested Tuesday in the parking lot of the Safeway store on Guerneville Road, and deputies found a handgun in his car that is believed to be the murder weapon, Crum said.
Smith-Hill was arrested after an interview at the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday.
The three suspects were booked under no bail in the Sonoma County Jail for murder, kidnapping and conspiracy.
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