One Man Sentenced to 15 Years, One to 7 Years for Role in Death of Reetpaul Rana in Marijuana Deal Gone Bad Case

Press release from the US Attorney’s Office:

Ryan Carroll

Carroll

Ryan Carroll was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and thus causing murder, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. Carroll’s codefendant, Robert Lee, received a sentence of seven years for being an accessory after the fact and destruction of a vehicle by means of fire.  The sentences follow guilty pleas entered by the codefendants in which they acknowledged their respective roles in an attempt to rob a Humboldt resident who asked for help in purchasing marijuana.

Robert l. Lee

Lee

Carroll, 31, of no fixed residence, pleaded guilty on July 30, 2015, to being one of the people who robbed and killed Reetpaul Rana in a drug deal gone bad.  According to the plea agreement, Carroll told Rana in August of 2008 that he would help Rana purchase 8 or 9 pounds of marijuana.  In September of 2008, rather than help Rana purchase the marijuana, Carroll and three other people decided to rob Rana.  Rana was shot and killed during the robbery.  On August 22, 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Carroll; he was charged with robbery affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); use of a firearm causing murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j); conspiracy to destroy an object to obstruct an investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; destruction of an object to obstruct an investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519; and use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h).  Pursuant to the plea agreement, Carroll pleaded guilty to using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence causing murder.  Today, Carroll was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the conduct to which he admitted in the plea agreement.

On July 17, 2015, Lee, 30, of no fixed residence, pleaded guilty to criminal conduct that followed the murder of Rana in September 2008.  According to the plea agreement, Lee agreed with two other people to “torch” Rana’s car in a suitable location.  Lee admitted that he knew the car belonged to Rana and that Rana recently had been robbed and killed with a firearm during the course of the robbery.  Lee acknowledged assisting in transporting the car to an access road near a lagoon in Arcata, Calif., spraying the inside of Rana’s car with WD-40, and igniting the car for the purpose of preventing the apprehension, trial, and punishment of the person responsible for robbing and killing Rana.  On August 22, 2003, Lee was charged with use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); use of a firearm causing murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j); conspiracy to destroy an object to obstruct investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; destruction of an object to obstruct investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519; and use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h); accessory after the fact, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3; and manufacture and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841.  In May of 2015, a grand jury amended the charges against Lee to add malicious destruction and conspiracy to maliciously destroy a vehicle by means of fire, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844.  Pursuant to the plea agreement, Lee pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the use of a firearm causing murder, and to the malicious destruction of a vehicle by means of fire.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Edward Chen, U.S. District Judge.  Carroll has been in custody since June 2010, and Lee has been in custody since October 2011.  Both defendants will begin serving their respective sentences immediately.  Judge Chen also sentenced each of the defendants to a five-year period of supervised release and ordered defendants to pay $6,000 in restitution to Rana’s parents.  Both defendants are liable for the $6,000 jointly and severally and the court set a date of January 20, 2016, to consider any further restitution claims that may be made by Rana’s  parents.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew M. Scoble and Scott D. Joiner are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kurt Kosek, Lance Libatique, and Ponly Tu.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

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17 comments

  • Something odd about this story. The press release notes that other individuals were involved in the shooting besides these two. The conspiracy involved others. Neither was the shooter? The victims body was found on dyerville loop road, just up the hill from the October shooting on Wade Road. Car taken far far away from that spot.

    • Probably made a deal to testify against these two in exchange for no charges filed or a reduced charge thats not a felony and sentences the person to probation/community service. I would guess thats why these two plead guilty. unfortunately i kno of a case where the feds got a guy to cooperate&wear a wire & paid for his travel to visit each of the people the feds were interested in & record them. Resulted in some really bad stuff where people charged with conspiracy to commit crimes went to prison while this guy was free, the feds were paying for methadone treatment for him, gave him a car, and rented a place for him to live while supplying him with cash anytime he wanted. Your tax dollars hard at work 🙁

    • Carroll is identified as the shooter, “Use of a firearm causing murder.”

    • Federally Confused

      What is this”he(Carroll) is charged with robbery affecting interstate commerce,…” violation BS? Are they seriously charging a murderous thief with disrupting the flow of medical marijuana outside of the state in which it was grown? Huh? Is that the only way to get the Feds involved because Humboldt couldn’t afford to or care enough to send investigators to the Midwest to find this other waste of human life? I mean if that’s the case, by all means, fly investigators to Australia if that’s what it takes to put waste#2 away, I don’t mind my tax dollars being spent for that, hell, put up the team of investigators in the Four Seasons, money well spent… But why exactly are they saying this heinous and brutal crime was a “robbery affecting interstate commerce” when we all know that the medical marijuana grown in this state is strictly for patients within the borders of our fine state? Are they actually going to admit there is an out of state ebb and flow of commerce ongoing in the medical marijuana industry? An interstate commerce that they(the Feds), are aware of and its impact on other states commerce, that they should either have control of, if not be more proactive in preventing from occurring? Are they using this charge to foreshadow a future federal jurisdiction for their own (federal)regulations that will inevitably be put into action when marijuana is finally and rightfully rescheduled as a schedule II, if not schedule III drug? Or was this simply, the only way to have the Feds involved to take the burden off of our seemingly inept county prosecutors/investigators, so that these violent, transient wastes of life could be brought to justice(-ish… 7&15yrs really does seem kinda lax and way too nice for the crime committed)… I seriously hope they aren’t granted time served and that their sentences are to begin now rather than minus their time inside during the past few years while this case has been in court. Anyone know anything about that? I really don’t feel like reading anymore about these dumbasses… Just another WTF?! Or, Are they really serious?! Humboldt County Circus of Law and Injustice…. Can we have a rally at the court house urging inmates wherever these two end up to pummel their asses daily or better yet, let’s wait until they’re set to be released and then rally outside of the prison(s) they’re being held at for one of their fellow inmates to either castrate them or shank em or both so the world can be just a little bit safer?! I can’t imagine either one of them is going to reintegrate even with the 5yrs of supervised post-release probation/parole… Something about two more known killers who are allowed to return to society, having already killed once, being allowed to walk the streets once again seems totally wrong.., what happens when/if either one gets into a fight after their post release supervision is up? Another murder? If that’s the case, I sincerely hope they both try and succeed in killing each other, or one kills the other and then kills himself… Nothing short of that is even remotely fair….

  • Why did they have to kill the guy? My friend found the guy in a gulch after he’d been there for days because of his little dog frantically running around. At least his family got the damn dog back.

  • These two men do not deserve to have their photos displayed. The victim should be the only one pictured, and he is nowhere to be seen.

    • I don’t have permission to use the victim’s photo. If I did, I would use it.

    • They did a horrible crime so their faces should be on blast[eddit]. Because their sentence should be longer, as well as others involved being held accountable. Smells like someone was a rat, either way something is off because those are short sentences for the crimes listed.

  • A sad case indeed and another example of the problems with an out-of-control black market .

  • Why did it take so long for them to be either brought to trial or enter a plea and sentenced?

  • What a weak ass sentence. This is bullshit. All involved should be held accountable, equally. A life is worth more than 7 and 15 years. Our system is flawed.

    • Hate to say it but they may not even serve 7 or 15 years . I don’t even know what to believe anymore with the sentencing people going to jail for eight years or 10 years and you see them in a couple years on the streets .

  • Looks like these tender little morsels are on their way to the prison Meat Market. “After” pictures will be interesting. af

  • Weak sentences. Only 15 years for murder?! Was this plea deal worked out when Gallegos was still in office? Because it smells like something he would do.

  • Someone got a sweet deal.if you help plan and carry out these crimes aren’t you just as guilty as if you pulled the trigger?

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