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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Green Bluff homicide

Man deported in Jan. charged with murder

The roommate of a man found shot to death near Green Bluff last fall has been charged with his murder.

But detectives haven’t arrested Miguel A. Rodriguez-Barbosa for the October slaying of Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25 (pictured).

The 19-year-old was deported to Mexico in January after being convicted of a felony related to marijuana found in the north Spokane home he shared with the victim.

Court documents supporting a first-degree murder charge against Rodriguez-Barbosa, 19, were ordered sealed June 24 by Superior Court Judge Michael Price, one week after Judge Ellen Kalama Clark approved a $1 million warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

The charge ends an eight-month investigation that was aided by fingerprint evidence and cell phone call records, but begins a search for a young man long considered a murder suspect who was not charged until months after his return to his home country.

“He didn’t disappear. We disappeared him,” said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 11: Pot conviction least of teen’s problems

Jan. 5: Murder victim’s roommate eyed as suspect

Oct. 27: Homicide victim’s roommate arrested on drug charges

Oct. 26: Homicide victim linked to drug sales

Pot conviction is least of teen’s problems

The teenage roommate of a murdered marijuana dealer was sentenced to time served in jail on a drug dealing charge last week.

But Miguel A. Rodriguez-Barbosa won’t be getting out of jail anytime soon. He was in the country on a work VISA and faces deportation after being convicted of a felony.

He also faces an ongoing investigation into a murder that detectives believe he knows all about.

The 18-year-old was credited for 72 days served in Spokane County Jail on Thursday.

Search warrants filed that same day show detectives are convinced he was involved - not just a ‘person of interest’ - in the shooting death of his roommate, 25-year-old victim Jesus Torres Valdovinos.

Valdovinos was found dead and wrapped in a blanket and plastic bags along Day-Mount Spokane Road Oct. 18.

Rodriguez-Barbosa declined comment to a reporter when reached by cell phone shortly after Valdovinos’ body was found. He was arrested Oct. 27 on one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

An acquaintance, Marco Antonio Noriega-Lopez, 27, was arrested on drug charges late last month and also is a suspect in the case, according to a search warrant filed last week seeking phone records.

“Based on the known association between Barbosa and Noriega, the numerous phone calls between their phones the day of the murder and their fingerprints being found on the plastic bags from the victim’s body, your affiant believes they are both somehow involved with the victim’s murder,” according to the search warrant.

Past coverage

Murder victim’s roommate eyed as suspect

 Homicide victim linked to drug sales

 Homicide victim’s roommate arrested on drug charges

Few leads in Green Bluff homicide

More than two weeks after a major marijuana dealer was found dead near Green Bluff, detectives are working with few leads.

“It’s not a case that we don’t think we can solve,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said today. “We just don’t know how long that’s going to take.”

Still missing is a love seat that was removed from the home of victim Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25, (right) sometime before the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office searched his home at 63 E. Vicksburg Oct. 20, two days after his body was found by two women walking along Day-Mt. Spokane Road. (See what the love seat looks like here. )

Valdovinos’ roommate, Miguel A. Rodriguez-Barbosa, 18, remains in Spokane County Jail after being arrested Oct. 27 in connection with two-thirds of a pound of marijuana found at the home. Barbosa was living in the country on a VISA and faces deportation for the felony charge. He’s being held with no bail on an immigration order.

He’s also not cooperating with detectives trying to find a storage unit where Valdovinos was said to have stored drugs, guns and money, Reagan said.

Investigators filed search warrants last week seeking call records for phone numbers belongs to Valdovinos and Barbosa as well as call histories for three cellular towers in the area where Valdovinos’ body was found. Another warrant was filed Oct. 29 after detectives realized they’d been given an incorrect number.

Read past coverage here and here.

$25,000 bond for murder victim’s roomie

The roommate of a man found dead near Green Bluff remains in Spokane County Jail on a $25,000 bond after a court appearance Wednesday.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office issued a $250,000 warrant for Miguel A. Rodriguez Barbosa, 18, on a felony marijuana charge, but Judge Ellen Kalama Clark called the request bond “extraordinary” and imposed the lesser amount.

Barbosa, who was living in the country on a VISA, faces deportation for the felony charge and is being held with no bail on an immigration order.

The teen has family in Odessa, has no criminal history and works with his brother in Spokane cleaning repossessed homes, said his public defender, Jeremy Benson.

Barbosa was arrested Tuesday, one week after detectives found two-thirds of a pound of marijuana in the home he shared at 623 E. Vicksburg with homicide victim Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25.

Barbosa told detectives he was being trained to take over Valdovinos’ marijuana business and had seen Valdovinos (left) give his supplier $85,000 the day before he was found shot to death.

No arrests have been made in the homicide. Read past coverage here.

Homicide victim’s roommate arrested

The roommate of a man found dead near Green Bluff last week has been arrested on a felony drug charge.

Miguel A. Rodriguez-Barbosa, 18, was booked into Spokane County Jail today about 3 p.m. on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Detectives found several hundred grams of marijuana Oct. 20 when they searched the home Rodriguez-Barbosa shared with Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25, at 623 E. Vicksburg, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Rodriguez-Barbosa likely have his first appearance in Spokane County Superior Court tomorrow.

Detectives are looking for information on a storage unit in Spokane that Valdovinos or Rodriguez-Barbosa rented; the teen told detectives Valdovinos stored guns, marijuana and money there. Investigators also are still looking for a love seat missing from the home.

The love seat matches the couch pictured above but has only two seats.

Read the rest of my story here.

Read past coverage here.

Homicide victim was big-time pot dealer, docs say

The man found shot to death near Green Bluff last week had been involved in a large marijuana operation for several years and had just paid off an $85,000 debt to his supplier, authorities have learned.

Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25, reportedly gave his supplier the cash during an Oct. 17 meeting at his north Spokane home, detectives said in new documents filed Monday in Spokane County Superior Court.

That meeting occurred one day before his body was found wrapped in plastic bags and two blankets along Day-Mt. Spokane Road. Valdovinos was shot in the head at his rental home at 623 E. Vicksburg Ave., then dumped about 15 miles away between 5 p.m. Oct. 17 and 11 a.m. Oct. 18, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

(Detectives are still looking for a love seat missing from Valdovinos’ home. See what it looks like here. )

Read a story on big marijuana grows operated by international drug cartels that published the day Valdovinos’ body was found here.

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