Dead men found at Magalia pot grow

Pomona resident suspected of the murders

Butte County sheriff’s detectives located the remains of two bodies at a large marijuana grow near Magalia June 27. According to a press release, the site was discovered based on information received from the Fontana Police Department two days earlier in regard to a missing-person case.

A search near Doon Grade and Coutelenc roads just north of Magalia uncovered 28,000 marijuana plants on property owned by Sierra Pacific Industries. The remains of two men were located near a shallow grave at the site, said Sheriff Lt. Al Smith. The men likely were killed at the beginning of May and their remains had apparently been dragged from the grave by animals.

An investigation determined the men, one of whom was the missing person, likely had been shot to death. Suspect Joel Espinoza Beltran of Pomona was arrested on July 3 by Fontana police and will be brought to Butte County to face two murder charges. The dead men’s names are being withheld pending identification and family notification.