No Marijuana at Jere Melo's Death Scene, Sheriff Won't Confirm Opium Poppies

This morning, Mendocino’s KZYX’s news has an interview with the spokesperson for the Mendocino CO. Sheriff’s Dept, Capt. Kurt Smallcomb about the murder homicide of Jere Melo.  The written summary underneath contains all the information in the audio but listen to the audio for a sense of how oddly cagey law enforcement is being about what they have had 3 days to thoroughly examine.

Besides KZYX’s coverage, the Press Democrat is all over the story with excellent coverage.  Here, they interview the suspect Aaron Bassler’s father.  He sleeps with a gun on his nightstand because he’s afraid of his son.

Here, though, is where they blow everyone else out of the water.  They have incredible details of the actual events. Including this section

The shooter was on higher ground on the rugged forest when he fired a high-caliber long rifle down a steep slope at Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo, 69, and another man, Mendocino County sheriff’s officials said.

Melo, who was unarmed, was struck multiple times in his torso, Capt. Kurt Smallcomb said.

His companion returned fire and ran away toward the Skunk Train railroad tracks, Smallcomb said.

By chance, he came upon a small “speeder car” that follows the main train on its once-a-morning journey and was taken into town.

The piece also talks about Bassler living in the woods tending poppies for about  4 months. If that is so, and, the Press Democrat has carried that opium poppy piece of information from almost the first, why won’t Capt Kurt Smallcomb confirm that in his interview on KZYX?

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27 comments

  • It’s homicide, not murder. Murder is determined by the court. Issue of intent is factored into murder. The media is too loosey-goosey with this term. It makes me question other facts the media report. But opium poppies — wow. That smacks of Mexican and Asian cartels.

  • It’s homicide, not murder. Murder is determined by the court. Issue of intent is factored into murder. The media is too loosey-goosey with this term. It makes me question other facts the media report. But opium poppies — wow. That smacks of Mexican and Asian cartels.

  • Good question Kym.
    I can’t see any logical reason why the Sheriff would want to hide the fact that it’s a poppy field and not a pot patch.

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story one of these days.

  • 100 opium poppies produces almost no drugs, certainly not enough to market. There likely isn’t a cartel connection at all.
    And 4 months to grow the poppies seems ridiculous to anyone who has grown a few of them for personal usage. The amount of land nessesary to grow 100 poppies is not measured in acreage. It is measured in square feet.
    Correct me if I am wrong, the poppies are not illegal until the pod is scored so the opium can ooze. Anyone who has tended a few poppies can attest to the fact it is not a commercial venture to grow a hundred plants. Tha amount created wouldn’t even interest a heroin addict. The process to turn opium into heroin would render this 100 plant harvest into an almost unmeasureable amount on a gram scale.
    This all seems very sensational, but entirely odd.

    • charlie two crows

      Maybe the guy was just making poppy tea. Still used all over the world but not here. Until the early 1900’s every house hold in america had a bottle of Ladanum (opium-alcohol tincture) it could be bought in any store in america. Look it up!

  • 100 opium poppies produces almost no drugs, certainly not enough to market. There likely isn’t a cartel connection at all.
    And 4 months to grow the poppies seems ridiculous to anyone who has grown a few of them for personal usage. The amount of land nessesary to grow 100 poppies is not measured in acreage. It is measured in square feet.
    Correct me if I am wrong, the poppies are not illegal until the pod is scored so the opium can ooze. Anyone who has tended a few poppies can attest to the fact it is not a commercial venture to grow a hundred plants. Tha amount created wouldn’t even interest a heroin addict. The process to turn opium into heroin would render this 100 plant harvest into an almost unmeasureable amount on a gram scale.
    This all seems very sensational, but entirely odd.

    • charlie two crows

      Maybe the guy was just making poppy tea. Still used all over the world but not here. Until the early 1900’s every house hold in america had a bottle of Ladanum (opium-alcohol tincture) it could be bought in any store in america. Look it up!

  • Sounds a whole lot like “Times-Standard” type reporting – more police “story” than fact.

  • Sounds a whole lot like “Times-Standard” type reporting – more police “story” than fact.

  • It seems the only evidence identifying the “shooter” is from some unknown “co-worker” that could be anyone at any convenient time that supposedly got away. The shooter apparently hit the on person multiple times, but apparently missed the other one …

  • It seems the only evidence identifying the “shooter” is from some unknown “co-worker” that could be anyone at any convenient time that supposedly got away. The shooter apparently hit the on person multiple times, but apparently missed the other one …

  • I was dismayed to see the Times Standard article start out as a tribute to what was apparently a very nice person and turn it into a rant about how marijuana grows have made the forests so incredibly dangerous, when there was no pot involved.

  • I was dismayed to see the Times Standard article start out as a tribute to what was apparently a very nice person and turn it into a rant about how marijuana grows have made the forests so incredibly dangerous, when there was no pot involved.

  • The only way this could be labeled a drug-related shooting is that Melo and partner were searching for a reported squatter growing pot. In fact he wasn’t. In fact he was growing a few poppies, probably for personal use. The most important fact is the suspect’s father says he is crazy, with paranoid delusions about invading aliens. He has been camping out in the woods alone and digging fortifications because he’s nutso. This story is already ugly, and it’s not going to have a pretty ending.

    The meme of the innocent person getting shot to death after blundering into a pot grow is based more on myth and hype than on fact. How many hundreds, even thousands, of outdoor cannabis grows do you suppose there are in the Emerald Triangle? How many confirmed shootings of blunderers who stumbled into one of them are there. I rest my case.

  • The only way this could be labeled a drug-related shooting is that Melo and partner were searching for a reported squatter growing pot. In fact he wasn’t. In fact he was growing a few poppies, probably for personal use. The most important fact is the suspect’s father says he is crazy, with paranoid delusions about invading aliens. He has been camping out in the woods alone and digging fortifications because he’s nutso. This story is already ugly, and it’s not going to have a pretty ending.

    The meme of the innocent person getting shot to death after blundering into a pot grow is based more on myth and hype than on fact. How many hundreds, even thousands, of outdoor cannabis grows do you suppose there are in the Emerald Triangle? How many confirmed shootings of blunderers who stumbled into one of them are there. I rest my case.

  • Sad story from the father here: http://bit.ly/pqXk0X

  • Sad story from the father here: http://bit.ly/pqXk0X

  • Yes, Jere Mello!
    Farm. The kids called it the WILDERNESS SCHOOL. We connected in 1967. He came down to Daly City to help me with a new project for tough kids. It was a public school operation. I called it the the farm phase. Jere was the enemy then. He worked for Georgia Pacific. I was his age….a part of the eco-revolution. WE hit it off perfectly. He loved the students. We did lots of good stuff. He gave us plants. He helped us get lumber for building a geodesic dome…..that building is still standing today and is part of an outdoor education program for grade school kids. Jere Mello was a good person. He was not afraid to help out. He listened. He influenced to keep going. That was 44 years ago. Those students called me with the bad news. I thank god that this was not one of those troubled kids that I taught. Jere was a very good man.
    Reno Taini, Ph.D.
    1982 California Teacher of the Year

  • Yes, Jere Mello!
    Farm. The kids called it the WILDERNESS SCHOOL. We connected in 1967. He came down to Daly City to help me with a new project for tough kids. It was a public school operation. I called it the the farm phase. Jere was the enemy then. He worked for Georgia Pacific. I was his age….a part of the eco-revolution. WE hit it off perfectly. He loved the students. We did lots of good stuff. He gave us plants. He helped us get lumber for building a geodesic dome…..that building is still standing today and is part of an outdoor education program for grade school kids. Jere Mello was a good person. He was not afraid to help out. He listened. He influenced to keep going. That was 44 years ago. Those students called me with the bad news. I thank god that this was not one of those troubled kids that I taught. Jere was a very good man.
    Reno Taini, Ph.D.
    1982 California Teacher of the Year

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  • Pingback: Police Search for Aaron Bassler as Fort Bragg Residents Worry « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • Pingback: Police Search for Aaron Bassler as Fort Bragg Residents Worry « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

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