A Northern California marijuana grower was charged today with -- among other crimes -- murdering his Guatemalan helper who had been working on his pot farm in Humboldt County.
According to prosecutors, a federal grand jury indicted Mikal Xylon Wilde on suspicion of shooting to death Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid while he was tending to Wilde's 1,500 or so marijuana plants on Aug. 25, 2010.
Wilde was also indicted on a slew of other charges, including narcotics, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants, and use of firearm during a drug-trafficking offense.
According to earlier news reports, the shooting happened after a dispute broke out among Wilde and a group of his employees. Wilde reportedly told them he didn't have money to fuel the truck that was being used to water the plants, and that they would have to irrigate the crops by hand. The workers didn't take to this suggestion, and quit on the spot. But they weren't going to leave without getting paid first.
Three of the employees, including Madrid, walked from Wilde's ranch to the Kneeland Cal Fire air station to try and contact the man who had connected them to Wilde. When they returned to the ranch, Wilde was allegedly waiting for them -- and he was angry.
Wilde told them he would pay them what they were owed, and that his girlfriend would take them home. He then left the ranch, only to return a few hours later and allegedly fire multiple rounds, killing Mardrid, according to previous testimony.