AMADOR COUNTY – Two men from Ohio came out to California to harvest and process marijuana. They were staying in Plymouth, at the Far Horizons 49er RV Resort, a popular tourist destination for the California Gold Country and Amador County wineries.
The men, described as white males, 28 and 48 years old, had been staying at the resort for five days. It is not clear where they accessed the marijuana plants, but the two had built up over 100 pounds of processed pot, which they were likely planning to transport back home to Ohio. It wasn’t all work and no play for the men, however, as they had arranged meetings with prostitutes during their visit using the website Backpage.com.
Backpage looks very much like an alternate version of the more familiar Craigslist. With listings from all over the world, users can select their country and city and find free online classified ads. While Craigslist includes a “Personals” section for men/women seeking men/women, “casual encounters”, “missed connections” and more, Backpage.com features a section that goes further, with ads for escorts, strippers, “dom & fetish” and more.
Lucia Magana Verduzco, 22 of Sacramento, was one of the women they had hired as an “escort” (legal code name for prostitute). On Monday night, November 10, she was with the men at their RV in Plymouth, having arrived in a black Mercedes Benz. Unknown to her two Ohioan customers, she had also told two of her friends about them, no doubt describing the voluminous quantity of pot stored at their RV.
Those two men may have thought this would be easy pickings. They already knew the layout of the victims’ place, and armed with at least one gun, they likely planned to make off with as much marijuana as they could fit in their car, and perhaps some cash as well. They had followed Verduzco in a white sedan.
The operation, however, did not go off as planned. When faced with the robbery, the two men fought back. During the melee, shots were fired, hitting the younger man at least once in the face, while the older man was hit with a blunt force object in the head. The two robbers quickly left in the white car, and Verduzco followed in the Mercedes. Meanwhile, hearing shots on the premises, several people called 911. One called reported seeing a victim shot and multiple men leaving in the two cars. The two suspects were reportedly wearing hooded sweatshirts and white masks.
According to a press release, the Amador County Sheriff’s office received the emergency calls, and dispatched deputies to the scene. Officers from the Highway Patrol, Sutter Creek PD and Jackson PD also responded to assist. Plymouth Fire and American Legion Ambulance also responded to provide medical aid to the victims.
The two fugitive cars had fled south on Highway 49, and the Mercedes was stopped just past Drytown, the small roadside community just prior to Amador City and Sutter Creek. Lucia Verduzco was arrested there by a deputy and the Sutter Creek officer. They also located evidence apparently discarded from one of the cars on the side of the road. Sheriff’s detectives and a crime scene technician responded to process that evidence.
The two armed robbers were not found, however, and remain at large. It is not clear if they escaped with any of the marijuana or other property from the crime scene. The 28-year-old victim who was shot in the face is in critical condition after being transported to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento via emergency helicopter. The other victim was treated at Sutter Amador Hospital and released.
Lucia Verduzco was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted murder. This is not the first serious charge she has faced, however. In November of last year she was arrested for embezzlement and grand theft auto by the Mojave CHP in Southern California. But was she led into this by the men who committed the robbery? She posted a message on her Facebook page just last month, which reads (edited for content): “I try to make s*** work but n****s always try to bring me down. i wash my handS and I’m done with the lying, cheating, ect. I CAN’T stand a n**** that want to pull his own b**** down I’m a grown a** woman and i don’t need nun of it.”
The investigation into this incident continues, as detectives are processing evidence, interviewing witnesses, and viewing surveillance video. The two victims will themselves likely face charges for possession and possession for sale of marijuana, processing marijuana and perhaps cultivation.
Anyone who has any information about this case is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s office as 209-223-6500, or Amador County Secret Witness at 209-223-4900.