Man on the Run for 12 Years From Murder Charges Hid Out in Mendocino Growing Marijuana


RICARDO PUENTES, Jr photo from about 12 years ago.

About 7 a.m. Wednesday near Redding, the FBI, Santa Rosa detectives, Shasta County SWAT and Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the home of Ricardo Puentes, Jr. The man was a suspect in a 2005 execution style slaying that occurred in a Santa Rosa apartment.

Allegedly Puentes had supported himself over his years on the run by growing marijuana in northern Mendocino near Leggett not far from the Humboldt County line.

According to the Press Democrat,

After daybreak, with the SWAT team surrounding the residence, sheriff’s officials called out to Puentes through an open window. Realizing he was surrounded Puentes picked up his baby boy and stood in a window, Ludtke said.

“He was refusing to come out. It was kind of a hostage situation for a little bit,” Ludtke said.

Negotiations lasted about 10 minutes before Puentes came out, handed the baby to an officer and was arrested.

Just recently, Puentes, his girlfriend, their infant son, and her two children moved near Redding from their rural home south of Leggett. In northern Mendocino, Puentes was known as Tony. But in 2005, Puentes is believed to have been a member of the Norteño street gang who killed 27-year-old Semere Girmai in what was believed to be dispute about drugs and territory.

According to the FBI,

On January 15, 2005, Puentes, Jr. and two other suspects allegedly knocked on the door of an apartment in Santa Rosa. When a female resident opened the door to allow the three suspects inside, Puentes, Jr. allegedly pulled out a handgun and began shooting. One victim was shot and killed and a second was wounded before the suspects fled.

Puentes disappeared. He is rumored to have made occasional trips back to Santa Rosa to visit family. He has been in northern Mendocino at least four years but possibly a great deal longer. He told one friend he had come to the area as a kid but that has not been confirmed.



  • No bueno, esta muy malo, mota es vida, adios, pinche Diabolito.

    Hows my Spanish?

    The vato’s say im one hell of a gringo.

    • They’re correct!!!

    • U guys don’t really understand this guy. He was a Charlie Manson of the 90s. He had a lot of people to do what he wanted them to do. Why do you think he made it on the run so long? Degenerate. 3 kids with different girlfriends and only care about his ass. Yes law enforcement also blackmailed people to get info on him. Even people who had nothing to do with him. To me both are pathetic and hopefully justice will be served for the one he murdered and the people who were affected by his selfish ass!

      • Oh yeah by the way way. All you who call him an illegal. Well he was born and raised in Sonoma county(Rincon valley) get educated! Learn the facts!

      • Obviously you didn’t know him because he WAS and still is one of the most realest honest kindest humans in the world.. unless you were there and know all the facts you shouldn’t judge or comment on things you know nothing about but what these media thinks they know

      • You’re calling him a degenerate but then you’re turning around and saying other people need to get their facts.. you need to get yours cuz he’s far from a degenerate!!

        • Guess u knew him as Tony but didn’t know who he was b4 you met him. Or maybe you just sympathize for a murderer.

          • How long did you know Ricardo? Probably not long, I knew him since 6 grade at Rincon valley junior high, so don’t be trolling on here as if you know him, he is a stand up dude, you are talking out your @$$.

            • How long? Since the early 80s yeah like kids. Not 6th or 7th grade like all you smart guys. Your speaking out of your a#% not me. What does that prove anyhow? If you dress up as a women and leave your children behind and have the nerve to start a new family you really have no feeling for anyone but yourself. I saw him corrupt many people. He belongs off the street. He should pay his dues. If you play you pay. Why would you have the nerve to use your infant son as a bargaining chip to slip away again? Not a man a coward. I did time because of his cowardly ways. Freedom is something never to take for granted. So screw all you who say you knew him!

      • To James you have no clue who your talking you read papers and create a story about a person you probably mabe met once or not at all..if you knew him they are gonna make him sound worse to get the community excited on bullshit..there are much more positive things he’s done since he was a child and adult..even the 12yrs he gave so much the heart he always has had still does. What you don’t know about a person you don’t speak. You don’t speak on media to make anything look better or worse then they do …so go with the flow you are obviously a follwer..well lead a pack with knowledge not jumping on the band wagan. Things happen for reasons and the public isn’t aware of. Know true facts not an imaginary dream. Too everyone leave family alone and (no)him & I are not blood it’s just tacky and shows childish mind frame you will have a hard life living with that mind frame.

        • Your Angry! I’m relieved! Grew up with him. Knew him and brother Jose. He knew my family I knew his. Don’t forget a room full of witnesses blame him for murder. But I guess that means nothing when you shoot a man in the face chest head to make him unrecognizable. Plus u run for 12 years when u did nothing wrong. Anyone who knew him or had contact with brother “Jose” is suspect and guilty according to cops. He didn’t care about that. Had he been that person you saw in him he never would have ran like the coward he is.

      • David Pavlovsky

        I knew him…stand up dude. Alot of people talk this and that yet if you knew him he would never use his kid as a token. 10 minutes to say goodbye to your kid ain’t much when swat is knock that life shyt…the media is twisted just like the streets. Worrd is sameir had it coming for making threats on the streets…real threats that got him
        Smoked like many other wanna beez…Charles Manson. Come on James…. quit haten…you never knew him otherwise you would agree he was a good person…don’t hate the player hate the game!!!!

  • 12 years!! So either the cops are terrible at their job,or the criminal is smarter? I think theirs so much crime going on these days and not enough law to deal with it. We need double the law enforcement everywhere. I’m glad they caught him. I wonder how many others he hurt before he got caught

  • California needs to bring back the death penalty. I dont want a single penny of my tax dillars to pay for this guys stay in prison. He should receive the same pu ishment he dished out.

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    Marijuana and murder….

    I thought the devil’s lettuce was all about peace, love, grateful dead tours, and saving up for fake dreadlocks, have I been misinformed?

  • Anyone think this is the only fugitive growing here?

  • Lets play Legal or Illegal.
    Who wants to guess?!

    • Let’s play who’s the racist. You. No one is illegal. Some are undocumented immigrants.

      • AnonymousHumboldtian

        No documents. That means they illegaly immigrated. Hence the term illegal immigrant. Your term is more PC, but you’re just arguing semantics.

        With that said, the comment he left and his handle are borderline racist.

        • No his comments were blatantly fascist. Yours are borderline. The Lifeboat theory of geopolitics is racist. If there aren’t enough resources for everyone on Earth to live as materially as Americans do, then there should be a re-evaluation of how we live. The national drive to make people go “home” to poverty is very racist.

          • You should move to one of these third world dumps like Mexico and begin your work to solve every injustice ever visited upon mankind. Good luck.

      • Yeah and I guess kidnappers are just undocumented babysitters .

      • Undocumented is a federal crime. Bust your bubble…

  • Why even have the death penalty as law if there not goin to use it. And let our dam tax dollars pay for murders to b housed for 25 to life. If they kill someone and its proven 100percent. Like caught on video than kill that son of bit— the same day as they found guilty. Stop using hard workin folks tax dollars on these piece of craps

  • South of Leggett would be Bell Springs or Spy Rock, both are farther from the Humboldt County line then Leggett.

  • Oops, Oh dear “Clumsy Him”!!!

  • After the murder he turned over a new “leaf”?

  • He should have went back to Mexico,and stayed there ,but now we have to pay to incarcerate another illegal .He might be a legal alien ,but I highly doubt it.

  • I am SHOCKED to see this. Dumbfounded. I saw this man around town a bit and found him to be extremely polite. Mild mannered in my general experience with him, kind and a very caring father, not a trouble maker or aggressive in stance or demeanor. Just unreal.

  • How does this make you feel folks? This guy was hiding out for 12 years, 100 miles and a 2 hours drive from where he committed a murder. Do you know who your next door neighbors are? This is a wake up call for all of us living behind the “Redwood Curtain”. It’s time to go and learn how to protect yourself, if you don’t have this knowledge or skillset.

  • He is a suspect in a crime. He wasn’t convicted of a crime.
    I hope they get it all straightened out and that the guilty one(s) is captured, tried and sentenced.

  • This guy killed someone in a gang dispute about territory or product, not an innocent bystander or a positive member of society. Who cares? And so he was a nice guy in town, don’t see how that changes anything, everyone here is so morally pure like they’ve never done a wrong in their life.

  • Leggett seems to have its share of unsavory characters.

  • save our watershead

    leggett is a lovely place withall kinds of people

  • Sounds like a “bad hombre”!

  • Me pregunto si es un inmigrante ilegal. Si lo está, espero que la policía lo entregue a la inmigración y no lo deje ir de nuevo aquí de nuevo.

  • Ricardo was a good friend of mine in seventh grade, matter of fact I got busted stealing guns from a drug dealers house, and Ricardo’s mom was the only person to come visit me, he is a great dude, and nobody should talk about why he did what he did, who are you to judge? I know the guy and I would back him up any day.

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