San Jose Man Employed in Covelo’s Marijuana Industry Missing Since 4/20

Victor Medina

Victor Medina [Photo used in graphic from the California Office of Attorney General’s Website]

Victor Medina, a 30-year-old man from San Jose, California, was working on a marijuana grow in Covelo. He video-chatted with his family on the night of April 20, 2020. The following day Medina’s friend and fellow plantation worker Benjamin Chavez Reynoso arrived in San Jose, California dropping off a vehicle to Medina’s wife. Curious as to where her husband was, Medina’s wife inquired about his location, and Reynoso said, “He’s on his way. He was driving behind me.”

Benjamin Chavez Reynoso, the man believed to have knowledge of Victor Medina's last known movements, and Victor at a fitness center [Photograph provided by Victor's nephew Enrique Esparza]

Benjamin Chavez Reynoso, the man believed to have knowledge of Victor Medina’s last known movements, and Victor at a fitness center. [Photograph provided by Victor’s nephew Enrique Esparza]

Medina never came home that night and the following day a police officer arrived at Medina’s San Jose home to inform his wife that his truck had been found smoldering on a rural road outside Hollister, California. The missing man’s family’s concerns mounted when, on the morning of Wednesday, April 29, they were contacted by Spanish-speaking men demanding a $10,000 ransom for their loved one.

Maria Naranjo, Medina’s sister, described her brother and Reynoso as friends who worked together in a marijuana field in Northern California. She said the pair had regularly traveled between San Jose and Covelo since February of this year. On these trips, Medina would take both of his vehicles (a blue Nissan Titan and a white Nissan Pathfinder) and Reynoso would drive one and they would caravan together.

Medina told his family a disturbing story about “a worker [dying] in a greenhouse due to gas exposure” at the beginning of April. Medina sometimes expressed concerns for his safety telling Naranjo, “There are men with guns up here and they drink a lot.” During the last contact with Medina on the evening of April 20, Naranjo said, “Victor seemed tipsy and there were loud voices and laughter in the background”.

Benjamin Chavez Reynoso, the man family believes to have been with Victor before they lost contact with him. [Photograph provided by Victor's nephew Enrique Esparza]

Benjamin Chavez Reynoso, the man family believes to have been with Victor before they lost contact with him. [Photograph provided by Victor’s nephew Enrique Esparza]

Naranjo and the rest of Medina’s family believe Benjamin Chavez Reynoso might have“information about what happened to Victor.” Enrique Esparza, Medina’s nephew, said, “Ever since Benjamin dropped off the blue truck, his number has been changed and no one, not even his family, has been able to get ahold of him.” Esparza explained that Reynoso cohabitated with Medina and his wife at their San Jose home. The day he dropped off Medina’s blue Nissan Titan, he “went inside and grabbed all his belongings” from the Medina home, and has not been seen or heard from since.

On Saturday, April 25th, Medina’s family traveled to Hollister to investigate the site where the white Nissan Pathfinder was found burned on the roadside. Esparza said, “The police had already picked up the truck and there were pieces of the vehicle on the ground.” Esparza described the family searching the area for any signs of “Victor or his body but we didn’t find anything.”

Victor Medina

Victor Medina enjoying a night on the town. [Photograph provided by Victor’s nephew Enrique Esparza]

On April 29, Esparza said that Victor’s wife got a call for a ransom for $10,000 from a Spanish-speaking man. The caller threatened to “kill Victor” if the ransom was not paid in full, Esparza explained. Esparza said Victor’s wife demanded a picture of her husband to confirm the caller had him and the caller responded, “It’s my way or the highway.” Victor’s wife contacted law enforcement and told them of threatening phone calls, Esparza added.

San Jose Police Department’s Public Information Officer provided the following statement about their investigation into Medina’s disappearance: “On Friday, April 24, 2020, at about 7:24 PM, San Jose police officers met with someone at the San Jose Police Department to report Victor Medina as a missing person. Medina was last seen on Monday, April 20, 2020, at about 10:26 PM, during a video phone conversation. His last known location was in Covelo, California.” He added, “This is an ongoing investigation and no other details are available at this time.”

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Greg Van Patten confirmed Medina worked in Covelo as a “worker at a marijuana/cannabis operation.” Van Patten described MCSO’s role in the search for Medina as providing “investigative assistance in this case over the last few days at the request of San Jose PD. Van Patten said MCSO’s investigations determined that “[Medina] supposedly left Covelo within the last couple of weeks to return to the Bay Area before being reported as missing.”

Victor Medina’s date of birth is 10/15/1990. He is Latino, 5’7’’, and weighs 170lbs. He has black hair, brown eyes. Distinguishable features include a tattoo on his right arm that says “Shark City” and a tattoo on his left that says “SJ”. His sister Maria Naranjo said the last clothes he was known to be wearing were “blue jeans, a light blue shirt with a white fox logo, black Nike shoes, and a gray hat with the red letter ‘C’.”

The San Jose Police department requests that “anyone with information is asked to call 911. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867.”

Victor Medina [Pictures from the California Office of Attorney General's Website]

Victor Medina [Photo from the California Office of Attorney General’s Website]

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53 comments

  • Start with Benjamin Chavez Reynoso. Don’t his actions and reported story sound a bit suspicious? If you caravan from one location to another, doesn’t that mean you are generally within sight of the other vehicle? He must have at least seen something in his mirror. Then, grab your stuff, move out, change your number? Either he did it or saw it and believes he is in danger.

    • PS. Don’t go in or around Indian reservations. 75% of these missing people in Northern California go missing on or near reservations. There is also a large percentage of missing woman that disappear every year, many unaccounted for and not reported.

      • So, you keep statistics and last known locations of missing people in Northern California in and around native lands. As well as somehow magically know when women disappear since you seem to know but to the rest of the world it’s as you say “not reported.”

        Is it because you have a keen sense in particular to Native Americans or does your special power work with all human nationalities and races.

        • Can’t speak to all of it, but Native American women have been protesting the high murder/disappearance rate of women on reservations for some time now. Some experts claim the murder rate for Native American women is 10 times the National average.

          • Well this is just odd for me since this would be the first time I have heard of any of this in the United States. Now if you are from Canada then you might be referring to the study done by RCMP between 1980 and 2016. Which was six times higher than non-natives. These numbers include a serial killer and the highway of tears murders.

            As far as the US. I call bullshit on your 10 times. Never a protest either if so please link the article.

            • Please Google MMIW, (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women). You may be as shocked as I.

            • https://publicintegrity.org/politics/murdered-and-missing-native-american-women-challenge-police-and-courts/ Here ya go buddy. How about you do some research instead of attacking people for reporting information “you’ve never heard before”. That was literally one google search [edit]

              • How about you not get so mad . The bullcrap flies here all day, why would that story be any different? Chill…

              • Read what you post and educate yourself. Here I will summarize right from your link.

                “About 65 percent of criminal investigations opened by the FBI in reservations were referred for prosecution, according to the 2016 TLOA report. Of the 680 investigations that were closed without referral for prosecution, one of the most frequent reason was due to insufficient evidence to determine whether a crime occurred.”

                Again, Canada is involved with their pipeline workers and man camps. Still not seeing this 10 to 1 crap that been spewing!

      • Kimberly Zuller

        HELLO? Isn’t this about a missing man, someone’s husband, brother, friend. This article is to try and HELP find out what happened! I have a friend who is still missing from the SoHum area…3 years this summer. So, I know if this were on the comments about her missing case, I would feel like no one cares. Try to consider his family’s feelings. Thanks and Godspeed to Victor and his family on finding him.

        • Sorry to hear of your missing friend and hope they will be found. As far as this missing person it seems he is only missing because Ben the gang sign throwing friend has not been caught yet.

  • Sad.
    Thanks to the status quo for creating a society where the most widely profitable work is in the black market drug trades.
    I would advise against taking jobs at majority native or Latin grows.
    They aren’t progressives and you know it

    Maybe we can build a society that doesn’t need 3/4 of the population to be a permanent underclass.
    People that work hard like Mr. Medina shouldn’t have to go to black market industries just to carve out a future for themselves.
    Hope he’s OK

    • Status quo equals the Pharmaceutical-Congressional Complex and propaganda based Schedule-I bullshit, i.e., a cash machine.

      Seen in Redway last November, a man wearing a t-shirt “Black Markets Matter.”

      I hate violence associated with cannabis. Federally legal weed would steal great sums from our for profit WealthCare system and investors would take a hit.

      Until voters force Congress to grow a pair and eliminate the parasitic middlemen from the equation we’re stuck on stupid. Cultivation shouldn’t be a risk factor for death.

    • Canyon Oak…truth. NorCalNative true too. Meanwhile Trump was claiming economy was booming – yeah sure, with people working 2,3,4 part time gig jobs (gig..what a euphemism, used to refer to playing music) without benefits nor a livable wage.

  • Sure seems that working the illegal drug trade is dangerous business. There is a story like this every week around the dope grows.

    • Legal businesses have a lot of crime as well. Plenty of crime shows on TV depicting legal business and their killing habits. Clue, it’s usually cause of money, fucking or fucking over others.

  • 🕯🌳This would make a good Netflix movie. Alot of people have gone missing in the last 60 days with a funky police shooting. Seems kind of connected. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  • If a business is legal, and it has a lot of crime, me thinks it would be an illegal business. Most pot grows in the Round Valley area are a fucking sketchy crimefest, been there, seen that…

  • Why is this a story, it’s just business as usual in Valle Redondo.

  • Sad story, wish these two had picked a better place to work… Finding a safe pot farm to work can be hard… Good luck folks.

    • Finding a job at all nowadays can be hard, legal or not. Socialism has reared its ugly head. Government control and promises of free money and salvation through fear based propaganda is here to stay. That’s truly sad. We have enslaved ourselves and are giving up our rights and freedoms to the greatest known war tactic ever…… Deception and Fear.

      “Once someone has nothing, they will do anything for something.”
      (Me)

      • So you’re saying that these kids were forced to work at a Covelo pot farm because of “Socialism” ???
        Do you understand how dumb that sounds?

  • Burnt Roach (new handle)

    If this is truly a kidnapping, shouldn’t the FBI be involved? I thought the FBI usually handled these types of cases, regardless of crossing state lines or political boundaries.

    I agree with Alf’s comment at the beginning. Something strange about this case.

  • Baby Boomers Screwed America

    Sounds like cartels. Same thing happens in Mexico every day with thousands killed and government unable to protect it citizens. Yet, a large segment of our population believes we should just have open borders, if not just give back California to Mexico to be governed by them. That is naivety and misunderstanding of the situation down south. Lack of enforcement up north as well as sanctuary policies promoted by the woke educated middle management class is going to allow cartels to thrive. The Hispanic population has had to deal with this for a while, especially the workers, and the cartels are the type of people that not only kill a person but their entire family too.

    • “Happens in Mexico every day with thousands killed.” Are you just grossly overspeculating. Why are you trying to convince everyone about Mexico’s Cartel issue and ignoring the US gang (for your knowledge you can call them US cartels, if ya like) violence issues that occur in Baltimore and Chicago. Your logic applied would mean we should have a border from those cities. Maybe you are ok if US citizens kill each other just as long as you can turn a blind eye and blame Mexico.

      • These threads have turned into exaggerated opinions, Trump talking points, wild speculation and outright lies. Same people, every day, every article. Their every day lives aren’t complete unless they think they’ve had their RHBB soapbox propaganda time put in. Make sure you wear your waders, it’s deep. I don’t know what you call people that repeat the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and well, you get the picture. So friggin boring here any more. Different day, same shit…

        • I guess you can tell I am getting tired of it. Just gonna start attacking them with logic and facts. Remind them the US has many issues not being addressed and before we judge another human or country we should look at ourselves. If you look at the presidential election of 1933 it’s the same fuck’in issues of today and those poor bastards had to sneak to drink.

          Those that forget the past are destined to repeat it.

          War – WW1 – War on Terror
          Plague – Spanis Flu – Covid19
          Stock Market Highs – 1922-29 – 2012-19
          Stock Market Crash – 1929 – 2009, 2019
          Destabilizing Europe – 1936 – 2017
          Food Lines 1929-33 – 2019-?
          War – WW2 – ?

          • Except for the illogic of excusing one problem just because other problems can be cited. And the even more stupid thinking that confuses blaming one set of humans for the characteristics of all humans. Besides Mexico’s per capita murder rate is only 4 or 5 time’s the murder rate of the US. A drop in the ocean of evils to be addressed, right?

            Despite complaining about others getting on the Trump soapbox, it’s not them that drag Trump into every comment. It’s the anti Trumpets who refer to him constantly. TDS forces them to drag his name into every disagreement just like they use the word “racist” indiscriminately. They chant it in ritualized litany like a fundamentalist uses “Satan” in superstitious nonsense. It’s liberals who are obsessed with Trump in such weird and pseudo religious ways.

      • Hello, Mexico murder rate 24.7, USA 5.3, anybody home.

        • Hello, my point, was why you give a crap about Mexico’s issues do you not live in the USA. Chicago’s murder rate is just as high and Baltimore’s lately has been higher. You good with that, right, we should focus on Mexico’s murder rate.

          The herd being led in another direction to divert the issues at home <——— known as turning a blind eye in my day.

          • Its an issue because we have a fluid, open, and mostly unregulated border between the US and Mexico. That crime can easily bleed into our border towns and beyond. Like you said, we already have plenty of murderers in the US, like in Chicago and Baltimore. Why would we want to take the chance of adding imported problems to our already home-grown ones?

    • Naivety and misunderstanding is a good description of your comment, ‘baby boomer’. I suggest you get a better source of news and information then chime in.

  • The ransom might be bogus. There have been junkies calling up missing persons cases n demanding $ in this same manor. I think it’s same junkies cause when confronted for proof of their loved ones are alive, they get the same kind of responses.

  • The no- brainier, early red flag would be guys with guns, drinking a lot. That was the time to quietly pack yer bags & find a new job.
    Time to grow food gardens& small orchards, with modest cannabis gardens. Small is still beautiful .

  • Mendocino Mamma

    The cartels own Covelo no one can deny it at this point. Look around folks. Everything and everyone is under their cloud up there.
    Ladies on WIC driving Escalades with the family decked out in Rock Revivals.

    • Every US city has a gang (cartel).

      • But not many of them claim foreign ownership.

        • lol, really, not the itailans, not the Irish. But I see you point, however, hard to be an American infiltrating another country when you gotta take out the federal government first. Just gonna say Hondorus and if you wanna discuss the US role in Afghanistan’s poppy trade please let’s discuss.

    • Please Check One

      Thank you, Mamma, spot on. We who are living under the wretched cloud in RV would be more concerned about Chicago and Baltimore gangs if they were a heavy and constant presence in our once-safe town, as the cartels are now. Heartbreaking is the word. They’re going against their own – for now – but what will the future bring? Not looking good.

  • play stupid games, win stupid prizes

  • SearchingforBobby

    I pray this family gets answers. Nothing worse than not knowing what happened to your loved one. 🙏🏼 #findroberttennison

  • I feel badly for the family. I’m sure this will not end positively. Have lived in Humboldt since 1968. I’ve worked at fish plants, restaurants, etc. Fish plants were disgusting work. One job I would never do would be trimming, especially in Covelo. Back in the 70’s and 80’s it was a different story. Now days, too risky. Don’t people realize the murder and disappearances that go on with grows? Taking your life in your own hands.

  • There should also be circulating a photo of Benjamin Chavez Reynoso don’t you think. With a a heading reading Wanted for Information in Connection with Missing Person cause not everyone is going to click on a missing person story; more may click on a fugitive though.

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