Guerrero’s Tire Shop Raided
by Bruce Anderson, July 13, 2011
Last Thursday afternoon (July 7th), detectives from Napa County, reinforced by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, descended on the Guerrero Tire Shop in downtown Boonville to arrest Carlos Guerrero, 45, a long-time resident of the Anderson Valley.
As a dozen officers swarmed the premises during the raid that began precisely at 3pm, passersby gathered to watch the police team conduct a lengthy search of the old filling station.
Guerrero, neighbors said, lived on the premises, which are owned by his older brother, Juan Guerrero.
Juan Guerrero is in prison in the state of Indiana where he was arrested several years ago in a U-Haul truck "stuffed with marijuana," as newspaper accounts described Guererro's cargo.
Juan Guerrero's son, Rogelio, has served state prison time for assault with a deadly weapon and for threatening the life of local businessman Tom Towey. Rogelio Guerrero has also been arrested for parole violation.
Thursday's Boonville raid began when Napa County authorities received a tip that there were two dead men at a trespass grow in Napa County near Rutherford, a crossroads hamlet in west Napa County. The marijuana garden and its two dead men were subsequently located deep in the hills above the famous Robert Mondavi Winery when Napa County authorities searched the garden on Friday, the first of July.
The remains of the murdered men were badly decomposed but were initially described as an "older man and a much younger man." The two had been shot to death and had lain unburied at the remote site for some time. They have not been identified.
The Napa County marijuana field contained not only the two dead men but some 3,000 young marijuana plants.
A convicted felon, Carlos Guerrero was linked to the Rutherford garden by Napa County's Special Investigation's Unit. It was Special Investigations, supplemented by Mendocino County Sheriff's Department personnel, that conducted Thursday's raid on the Guerrero property in Boonville.
Carlos Guerrero has not been named as a suspect in the murders but is considered "a person of interest."
Guerrero was transported from Boonville to the Napa County Jail where he remains with his bail set at $500,000.
Preliminary charges include being a felon in possession of a weapon, illegal entry, cultivation, and possession of marijuana and methamphetamine.
Napa County authorities said Friday that they expect to make more arrests in the case. They also say they believe the Rutherford operation is part of a larger organized crime drug business based in Mexico.
The Year of the Rabbit has not been kind to Carlos Guerrero.
In January he and three other Boonville marijuana entrepreneurs were pistol-whipped and robbed of 18 pounds of marijuana and some $3,000 in cash. Three young East Bay men were arrested the same night in Sonoma County on charges they'd committed the crime. Guerrero and his three associates had apparently arranged to sell the East Bay thugs a quantity of marijuana with the tire shop as the sales site.
Shawn Ford, 23, and Leon Patterson, 23, both of Oakland, and both state prison parolees, pled out to the Boonville armed robbery and have since been returned to state prison.
The youngest robber, Garrett Bonner, 18, of Alameda, the son of a prominent surgeon, was placed on parole. The Boonville outing was Bonner's first arrest. His unhappy parents attended all of their errant son's court appearances and hired an expensive criminal defense attorney to argue for the probation their son was eventually granted by the Mendocino County Superior Court.
Two weeks ago, a drilling rig appeared at the tire shop to take soil samples in an ongoing search for the source of neighboring well contamination. The former service station's subterranean fuel tanks were excavated years ago but neighbors still complain that the residual petrol they claim appears in their well water has its origins at the present site of the Guererro business.
Last Thursday's raid by Napa County police in connection with the two murdered men in the Rutherford marijuana garden was the most serious crime yet associated with one or another Guererro.
Nearly a decade ago, Carlos Guerrero's older brother, Juan Guerrero, bought the tire shop property from Carolyn Short of Boonville. Mrs. Short and her late husband Jeff, operated a filling station on the property for many years. Locals have always assumed that the Guerreros used their business as a front for their much more lucrative marijuana enterprise.