Of Murder and Marijuana

Feature of Sweeting and Joshua Richard Ruoff

Joshua Richard Ruoff on the left and Timothy Sweeting on the right. [Image created from photos provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.]

Mendocino County Sheriff’s detectives working on a homicide investigation out of Covelo learned of a family they say was operating an out of state, black market, marijuana shipping business. The homicide occurred in May but the body of the victim, Timothy William Sweeting, was not discovered until June 2 when a dog found his remains. His alleged killer, Joshua Richard Ruoff, was arrested back in New Hampshire shortly after Sweeting went missing.

Now, in connection with that homicide, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has released the following information. Please remember this has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On May of 2016, Investigators from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Bureau was in contact with the New Hampshire State Police regarding a homicide investigation that occurred at 23501 Charlie Hurt Highway in Covelo, California. (Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Case 2016-14667).

During the communications, it was learned the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit had intercepted marijuana being shipped to Katherine Overend in Francistown, New Hampshire and that the marijuana was being shipped by her son, John Overend of Covelo, California.

In an effort to further assist the New Hampshire State Police’s marijuana distribution investigation, Detectives with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, Ukiah Police Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Cal Fire served a Mendocino County Superior Court search warrant at 23501 Charlie Hurt Highway.

Upon serving the warrant, 190 growing marijuana plants were located and subsequently eradicated. Detectives also seized 5 pounds of processed marijuana, which was along side shipping materials. Additional evidence of marijuana sales for profit to include a large sum of US currency was also located.

There was no evidence that the marijuana was being grown for medicinal purposes.

Further investigations revealed Robert Overend and Katherine Overend had purchased the property so their son, John Overend, could operate a commercial marijuana growing operation. The investigation revealed Robert Overend and Katherine Overend had received financial profits from the commercial growing operation.

At least one firearm was located at the location.

All three subjects were booked into the Mendocino County Jail for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and for being armed during the commission of a felony.

All three were to be held in lieu of $50,000.00 bail.



  • Do you still lose your property these days.forfit sorry

    • WhoAreThesePeople?

      When crossing state lines, the same laws apply that we got to know and hate in the ’70s and ’80s. In other words, they’re screwed.

  • Any evidence found for the murder, why was he murdered. Were they charged with murder? You kind of dropped off the murder information.

  • Pretty much shows how the game is played for the most part.How hard would it be to put a drug-sniffing dog inside a post office and stop the shipment of illegal drugs all over the United States from Humboldt if not why not ? Because it’s all part of the game it’s pretty clear that government is not enforcing the laws the way it should be and hasn’t been for years you can thank our political representation for that.

    • Honeydew Bridge Chump

      They use them in Redding, big brown shut down for 400 miles.

    • YOU are telling US how its played?!

      Thats how the game is lost! Thats why most GROWERS are not MURDERERs. Factoid: UPS is the biggest airlines in the US. That probably makes them the biggest shipper of weed. FedEx is coming up though!

    • Oh they do, but the volume of mail is pretty large…..I personally know someone who was supposed to receive cash in a mailed box, but got a polite letter from the DEA instead – intercepted at the Eureka post office…..Also the smart people don’t use local post offices or UPS/Fed Ex

      But the important issue here is someone died – not the substances involved…..

    • only idiots would attempt to mail some product.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      I’m sure there are many reasons why your idea is ridiculous so I’ll just mention one. If they had a dog running over every bit of mail in any post office, but especially ones in places like Humboldt, it would probably alert on most, if not all mail, because all it takes is for someone to touch the mail with the slightest scent of drugs on their hands for the dog to pick up a scent. Most US currency has traces of some type of drug on it so all it would take is for someone to pay for the shipping and/or the clerk to accept your cash and then touch the mail. Even if you’re a square and don’t do drugs, you use the same currency as the people who do. The only solution is to legalize all drugs!

  • Dogs can only work effectively for short periods of time. Nice paranoid fantasy about halting use & trade of a substance more benign & beneficial than bacon.

    • Not buying the bull here you are selling seen to many ruined lives from addiction here. So called veterans friend..

      • It’s non-addictive.

        • As a person who has smoked for 16 years and has struggled to even cut back for 5 I call complete bullshit. I’m a recovering alcoholic and that was waaaayyyy easier to quit then weed, and quitting drinking was not easy at all!!! I’m so sick of people saying weed isn’t addictive when there’s even study’s proving it’s addictive and showing the physical and mental issues you deal with when quitting. How can sex, gambling and shopping be addictive but a plant that changes you mentally and physically can’t become addictive, biggest load of BS ever. Tell a stoner to take a week off and tell me it’s not addictive if they make it even half a week!!!!!!!!!

          • Sleepy Alligator

            Just because that is how it was/is for you personally doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone else on the planet. I’ve been smoking weed for 29 years and have voluntarily quit a couple times during that period and involuntarily quit also. Either way it was never a big deal. Just did it. Alcohol and especially cigarettes whole different ball game. Physically and mentally taxing on my body and brain. My point is this: To each his own!

          • Been smoking for 40 years. Most of my friends–the same. Cannabis is completely physically non-addictive except for a teeny number people, and they are mentally addicted. The number of side effects is much less than any drug. Anyone who says it’s easier for an alcoholic to quit than a pot smoker is just plain lying and doing the community and the readers a disservice–or didn’t really drink that much to begin with. I would challenge the writer to tell us about his withdrawals from smoking and what happens to him when he tries. I’d like to know how far in the gutter he was when he was drinking. Was he beating his wife and kids while drunk? How much of an alcoholic was he. When you discuss medical issues, you can’t just project your complex problems and systems onto others.

            Pot can certainly cause some paranoia. I think Mr. Addict is experiencing that right now. (“Oh, my God, the government put something in my pot that won’t let me quit!”) He also fails to tell us what other substances he is taking. Is he back to drinking? Other drugs? History of mental illness? What are the side effects he wants to rid himself of by quitting smoking weed? College grad? Grades in school? Smoking cigarettes?

            It’s like a bad driver who gets into crashes every 3 months telling us that none of us should drive. Or a dog owner whose dogs bite everyone therefore none of us should own dogs. He’s projecting his very unique problems onto the rest of us who are certainly not addicted. It’s so easy to just not smoke for a while for most people and possible with a bit of effort for nearly all. The effort to quit is needed not because of physical withdrawals, but rather because pot is a relaxing fun herb to ingest. And may I point out that with stress as the number one killer, the relaxation from weed reduces stress in many cases. We’re not going to get the truth on the web because we don’t have the opportunity to meet this person to even see who or what he is. That’s the nature of blogs.

            • Your right you don’t know me. First off Phoenix is a unisex name so I’m a female. I’ll gladly give all my intamite details of my years as a non wife beating alcoholic as soon as you explain with great scientific backup how can sex and gambling be addictive and weed isn’t. Also please explain how you can be considered an alcoholic if you drink daily but people who must smoke every day all day aren’t addicted. Thank you for proving my point, anyone who has used a crutch to deal with their life for 40 years is addicted and can not fully cope with life without a mind altering substance, that is addiction through and through. Wether for stress or enjoyment, your addicted.

  • It Became A Farce

    People from elsewhere buy a property here explicitly to grow weed and send back to their hometown area for distribution. Have no ties to our community or regard for anything here- environmentally, socially or culturally. They treat our open situation here like an opportunity to be exploited. Now times that by a thousand or two thousand and that’s what we got! I love this place, I love weed, I love US but we really should have seen this coming and protected ourselves, not welcomed in everybody and insisted on their rights to make a million dollars!

    • Now I love your honesty.it became a farce

    • Forty yrs ago, when I came, the locals didn’t want the newcomers, the Back-to-Landers. Now many of them are the citizens who keep this area moving forward.

      • But now it seems the only folks who can afford to buy property is growers.like were being run out of our own land and homes.

        • Don’t worry big ag is gonna take over weed, the housing market will crash when all the dopers realize the game is up and go somewhere else. I’m looking forward to it. Gonna snap me up a nice growdozer cheap. If you think your ahem”boutique ” weed is gonna keep you going then you have obviously been overindulging in your crop.crop in the loosest sense of the word because you’re not actually farmers.

        • Totally true G-ma. I don’t want to grow weed and would never grow the large numbers you need to afford land around here so I have to move, thus county is running out everyone that lives here just for the trees and mountains and it’s really sad.

        • No one is running anyone out of anywhere. Whether to sell privately or through a realtor is a choice made by the seller. If the seller has standards of personal responsibility which supersede the lust for money, the seller, the buyer, the neighborhood and the Land all benefit. And this actually happens…it did 47 years ago, and it still is today. af

        • Same thing is happening over here in Nevada County.

      • This County Liz hasn’t moved forward in a very long time at least not in the right direction anyway.

    • the reason this happens is people that sell there property around here don’t give a shit and happily sellout to the highest bidder. That’s how all these bulgarians and cartels have thrived so far. Come in and buy up all the land they can for millions of dollars in cash. If people that are selling there property refused to sell to these people, or people that were from other states we wouldn’t be where we are now. I know that sounds crazy to not sell to anybody but proven locals but I don’t think it would be against the law. Pretty sure you can refuse an offer from anybody if it’s your property.

  • The reality of the weed industry.

  • you are so right, It Became A Farce.

  • It’s common knowledge that weed is a gateway drug to more life destructing drugs like heroin and meth. Just take a walk in Old Town Eureka or Downtown Garberville to see the truth.

  • Drugs only do one thing,whether it’s weed, meth, hero,coca,booze. Destroy human lives. F humbolt and supporters of the weed explosion. Fish and game wildlife go get this and put a new meaning to life. Here’s a real peace out.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      The only reason drugs destroy lives is because of their illegality which is the product of pharmaceutical corporations and our profiteering government officials! Use your brain to make your own decisions and stop being a puppet of propaganda!

  • ghastly

  • they don’t call it murder mountain for nothing my friend’s exwife poisoned my friend obtained over 2 million in property and was never caught

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