On September 17th, 2021

Five Arrested in Death Investigation in Butte County California DOJ helps collect and process evidence

“California Department of Justice criminalists are called upon to assist local law enforcement departments with processing crime scenes which involves identifying and collecting possible evidence and following up with any lab work, presenting conclusions and testifying in court when necessary.  Their expertise is invaluable to investigators and our public safety.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

OROVILLE – On September 11, 2021, Butte County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies located a sport utility vehicle without license plates parked in a rural area in Oroville.  Deputies approached the vehicle and discovered a body concealed in the rear of the vehicle.  The scene was processed by detectives and the vehicle was towed to a secure location to be processed by detectives and personnel from the California Department of Justice.  The deceased individual was identified as Melvin Garcia-Vargas, 33, of Sacramento.  Detectives located evidence that gave them cause to believe Melvin had been shot in his lower body.

On September 12, detectives contacted Melvin’s father, Carlos Garcia-Hernandez, 66, at a residence in Sacramento.  After determining evidence was possibly located at Carlos’ residence, detectives obtained a search warrant.

During the investigation, detectives determined Melvin died at an illegal marijuana grow allegedly controlled by Carlos in the area of Squaw Flat Road, Forbestown.  Detectives also located evidence that lead them to suspect Carlos and his two other children, identified as Juan Garcia-Vargas, 27, and Ronald Garcia-Vargas, 28, moved and concealed Melvin’s body after his death.

On the evening of September 12, BCSO served a search warrant at the marijuana grow on Squaw Flat Road.  During the service of the search warrant detectives located the area where they believe Melvin was shot.  Detectives also located a firearm and more than 600 marijuana plants.  The scene was processed by the California Department of Justice.

On September 13, detectives determined Carlos, Juan, and Ronald had additional marijuana grows located in the area of Knob Hill Avenue, Oroville.  On the afternoon of September 13, the BCSO SWAT Team served search warrants at seven parcels on Knob Hill Avenue.  During the service of the search warrants five firearms and more than 1400 marijuana plants were located.

On September 16, 2021, BCSO announced in a press release that detectives had located evidence that gave them cause to believe Melvin likely accidently shot himself while working at the illegal marijuana grow in Forbestown.  Detectives also located evidence that leads them to believe Carlos and his two sons, with the assistance of Juan Cruzcupido, then moved and attempted to conceal Melvin’s body to prevent law enforcement from discovering their illegal marijuana grows.

The following individuals have been arrested:

  • Carlos Garcia-Hernandez was arrested for misdemeanor counts of illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and unlawfully moving and disposing of human remains.
  • Juan Garcia-Vargas was arrested for misdemeanor counts of illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and unlawfully moving and disposing of human remains.
  • Ronald Garcia-Vargas was arrested for misdemeanor counts of illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and unlawfully moving and disposing of human remains.
  • Juan Cruzcupido, 33, of Sacramento, was arrested for misdemeanor counts of illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and unlawfully moving and disposing of human remains.
  • Edgar Najera, 50, of Sacramento was arrested for misdemeanor counts of illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

 

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