The green bounty of pot farming, coming to your neighborhood soon…

The green bounty of pot farming, coming to your neighborhood soon…

East Coast men among four arrested after Santa Rosa marijuana deal goes bad

New York residents who flew to Sonoma County for a cannabis deal were in custody Wednesday after Tuesday night’s sale turned into an attempted robbery with gunfire in a southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies late Tuesday night arrested three men from New York and a Santa Rosa man, who was hosting the drug deal at his Todd Road home, officials said in a news release.

This appears to be another in a series of violent crime investigations involving East Coast suspects who come to Sonoma County for marijuana. Recent cases differed in that they involved violent home-invasion robberies. Those took place in the same southwest Santa Rosa area, as well as in southwest of Sebastopol and Fulton.

Officials said the East Coast residents flew into the Bay Area Saturday, rented an Infiniti SUV and headed for Sonoma County. The plan was to meet at the home, buy marijuana and take it back to New York.

East Coast men among four arrested after Santa Rosa marijuana deal goes bad

The home was in the 500 block of Todd Road, west of Highway 101. At some point during the deal Tuesday, two men got into the SUV and sped away with the goods, officials said. At least one of the two men still at the home fired a gun at the fleeing vehicle three times, hitting it once. The SUV crashed into a ditch and the two occupants ran into a nearby field.

The commotion resulted in 7:30 p.m. 911 calls about a crash and then gunfire.

Deputies and CHP officers found a silver SUV in a ditch with a bullet hole. Callers also had reported seeing people run from the vehicle and a search of the area turned up the two men.

At the house, deputies found and arrested resident Gerardo Valencia, 50. Suspect Noah Zayas, 22, was hiding on the property in a second residence. He wouldn’t come out for the law enforcement officers and a police dog was sent in, found and bit him while getting him into custody, officials said.

Detectives and the sheriff’s SWAT team also responded for investigation and a search of the property.

The suspects gave contradicting explanations about what happened but deputies determined Welington Polanco, 22, and Carlos Penzo, 32, had been in the vehicle with 14 pounds of cannabis.

Deputies found the marijuana still inside the SUV as well as cash — officials declined to say how much money was found. Crime scene detectives Wednesday were expected to comb through the SUV for any other evidence.

Deputies arrested all four on suspicion of transporting marijuana for sale and conspiracy. Zayas also faces a possible charge for resisting arrest.

Bail for each was set at $30,000. Polanco and Zayas are from The Bronx and Penzo is from Yonkers, officials said.

Detectives still are attempting to determine who fired at the fleeing vehicle. Officials asked anyone with information about the incident to contact detectives at 707‑565‑2185.

Check back for details on this developing story.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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