The arrest of Central City resident Mark Cappello for his role in a California bloodbath can serve as an example for those who consider marijuana a violence magnet, as well as folks convinced that legalization and regulation are the best way to get the criminal element out of the pot biz. Either way, though, three men are dead, including Todd Klarkowski, who called Boulder home, and two suspects are actively being sought. Details and photos below.
According to the Santa Cruz Press Democrat, Cappello was cuffed in conjunction with murders that took place on February 5 in the California community of Forestville -- specifically a house in a rural area rented by the mother of 24-year-old Raleigh Butler.
The victims include Butler, Huntington, New York's Richard Lewin and Todd Klarkowski, a 42 year old who's represented by a mug shot. The Boulder Daily Camera reports that Klarkowski served a couple of drug-related jail stints, including a ten-month jolt for a 2002 cocaine bust.
What were the men doing in Forestville? Investigators think they gathered there to "buy a large quantity of marijuana," the Press Democrat maintains.
Other than that, authorities are keeping pretty much everything else about the case quiet, including any possible relationship between Cappello and Klarkowski, the two Coloradans. But we do know that law enforcers searched Cappello's Central City home, where he's lived for the past two years-plus, the day before he was arrested far from the scene -- near Mobile, Alabama.
Turns out cops had issued a search warrant on Cappello's 1995 white Ford Bronco, and officers in Alabama eyeballed it last week. Speculation is that he was heading to Florida, where his mom lives. She says he'd mentioned to her that he might be coming for a visit -- although he presumably left out the part about fleeing from police.
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Cappello is currently being held without bail. Meanwhile, authorities are looking for two thus-far unidentified men who are suspected of having some connection to the crime. The vehicle they were driving prior to the slayings was an early 1990s-vintage Ford Ranger, painted gold -- and while the surveillance photos made available were taken at a gas station in the California community of St. Helena, the Daily Camera reveals that the truck was also spotted in Colorado before the killings...implying that there might be yet another local tie to this gruesome crime.
Continue for large photos of Cappello and Klarkowski, plus surveillance photos of the suspects at large. Anyone with information about the pair or the truck in the surveillance images below is encouraged to contact detectives with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office at 707-565-2185.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Brian Unbehaun's twelve-pound Iowa pot bust: Are Colorado drivers being profiled?"