Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received reports of a murdered man on a rural property located on the North Highway 101 in Laytonville, California on the Lost Coast of California, about three hours north of San Francisco.
The remote property was located 5 miles west of the Highway 101 on a dirt road, according to Lost Coast Outpost.
Deputies confirmed the scene looked like a homicide. Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office and Criminalists from the California Department of Justice were summoned to the scene.
Jeffrey Quinn Settler was confirmed to be the victim. He had been operating an illegal, for profit commercial marijuana grow on the property.
Early Thursday, marijuana trimmers Settler had employed returned to the property with the intent of robbing their former employer, authorities have determined due to evidence found on the scene. The subject assaulted Settler during the robbery, causing his death.
Authorities believe suspects fled the property in two vehicles with more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana. They are believed to be fleeing to Southern California or out of state.
Authorities believe one vehicle is a blue 2017 Volkswagen Gold 4-door sedan with Virginia license plate number VHR5611. Sheriff’s Detectives were granted a murder/robbery felony arrest warrant for Zachary Wuester, identified as a suspect.
Other suspects include: Frederick Gaestel, Gary Blank III, Gary Lynn Fitzgerald and Amanda Weist.
Sheriff’s detectives issues a California-wide Be-On-The-Look-Out (BOLO) for the suspects.
Source: Lost Coast Outpost
Murder is not uncommon in the marijuana growing operations of northern California. In Humboldt County, for instance, reports of marijuana-fueled murder led to an area dubbed “Murder Mountain” near Alderpoint, 45 minutes east of the 101.