In 2005, Les Crane Of Mendocino County Was Robbed And Murdered By 6 Men Wearing Police Uniforms

December 28, 2012 7:07 pm14 commentsViews: 1094

Reverend Les Crane pictured in 2005 (RIP) We may have finally found your killers!



















Les Crane, 39, owner of Mendo Spiritual Remedies in Laytonville and Hemp Plus Ministry in Ukiah, was shot to death at his Laytonville home early Friday morning.

Mendocino County Sheriffs Detective Commander D.J. Miller said Crane was killed about 2:30 a.m. in the home invasion. The investigation has disclosed it appears to be robbery motivated. An undisclosed amount of currency and processed marijuana was stolen, Miller said.

(BuzzNote: Chalk up another death to Prohibition!)

Yellow tape surrounded the Road 307 residence Friday, where investigators from the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, evidence technicians and members of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team could be seen taking photographs and measurements, and periodically carrying armfuls of marijuana from a building.

Law enforcement at the scene would not disclose any more information, but a sign in the driveway spoke volumes: Mendo Spiritual Remedies. In God we trust, Rev. Les Crane. God Gave it to us and no one can take it away. Welcome to our church.

In the midst of all the activity, a man drove up and said to one of the sheriffs officers: I just came by to see Les, but maybe this is a bad time.

A visit later in the day to the Hemp Plus Ministry revealed the darkest details of what happened to Crane.

Reverend Crane was killed last night; I was there, said a visibly shaken Jennifer Drewry, as she sat inside the cannabis distribution center Friday afternoon, cradling her left arm, which was broken and in a sling from the beating she took during the ordeal.

I was there while they were killing him, Drewry, Cranes financee said, before recounting the ordeal, which could be described as nothing less than horrific.

Les was in bed sleeping. I was sleeping in another bedroom, she said, noting she woke up to the sound of footsteps. Four to six guys … they were wearing all black with black masks. … They busted down the door and all you could hear them saying was This is a raid, this is a raid, this is a raid, she said, noting the voices sounded young.

First, one of the men walked in and beat another of the homes residents, 20-year-old Sean Dirlamalso known as The Countwhile he slept, she said.

Then she said she opened her door and one of the menthis one not wearing a maskhit her over the head. The men in the masks stayed with Les, killing him and taking his medical marijuana and his money.

I was on my hands and knees praying to God, too loud I guess, so the one guy told him to shoot me, but he missed, and then I heard five or six other gunshots. I was too scared to look up after that, so I waited until it was quiet and then I ran into Less room.

He was lying there; he could still talk. There was a lot of blood. The Count was hiding, talking to 911. …. It had to be 15 minutes before anyone showed up. It was a long time … I was out of my mind.

They wouldnt let me sit with him, she said referring to emergency personnel. I told them they are torturing me; hes dying … I knew I only had a couple minutes; he was dying, she said, noting Crane was shot in the back of the head, in an arm and in his abdomen. There was so much blood I couldnt see all the holes, she said.

He just asked me to marry him two weeks ago. I was planning a wedding; now I have to plan a funeral, Drewry said. They ruined my life and took my dreams away from meall for money and greed, she said, by this time sobbing.

Crane supplied medical marijuana to more than 1,000 people in Mendocino County. Mendo Spiritual Remedies serves more than 800 people in the Laytonville area and Hemp Plus Ministry, which opened about two months ago in Ukiah, already has 350 clients, according to those who worked there.

Christina Bagbywho referred to herself, Crane and his friend, Ukiah Morrison, as reverendsworks at the Ukiah ministry.

We believe that cannabis is the tree of life. In the Bible it does say the tree of life will be called upon to heal the nation. We believe that tree is cannabis. We promote hemp awareness.

Morrison also works there, and like Bagby, spoke nothing but kind words about Crane.

He was very thankful to be alive and to help the community. That was his only objective in lifeto help others, Morrison said of the man he called his best friend. He spent $7,000 of his own money to buy 350 turkeys both for Ukiah Food Bank and Laytonville Food Bank, he added.

Quoting from the Bible, Morrison said: Greater work than I have done, shall you do. Les Crane embodied that and he helped uplift the community. … He was definitely my super hero and mentor. He was like a father to most of us.

Laytonville residents The Daily Journal spoke with Friday said Crane did indeed do some good in the community: His teen center was clean and sober and the teens did use it. He also gave to charities.

Other residents said Crane hung out with what some perceived as undesirablesfor instance other large scale pot growers. Some described him as loud and boisterous and said he had his share of scrapes with the law … that he was courting trouble.

In October, District Attorney Norm Vroman brought cultivation of marijuana charges against Crane, who adamantly proclaimed his innocence.

Anyone that is a patient that would like to stand up, please join me and stand up against the tyranny, Crane said at the time. It isnt a controlled substance to me. This is a medicine and those laws do not apply to patients.

Morrison and Drewry both believe Cranes killer was somebody he knew.

As he was breathing … after he had been shot several times, I asked him, Who did this to you? and he said, They came to see The Count today, Drewry said, adding, They came to rob the marijuana there and a safe. They took it all.

He always told Hemp Ministry workers Dont hesitate to open the safe; its not worth a life, Morrison said, noting Crane was trusting because the money was irrelevant to his cause. Cranes door was probably unlocked, Morrison said. However, Morrison added, He was not an idiot; he knew his work was risky.

Crane came to Mendocino County several years ago with $100 and a dog after selling his tie-dye business in Florida. He had heard Mendocino County had passed Measure G supporting legalization of marijuana in the county for personal use. He turned the $100 into a sizable profit that harvest year and took that nest egg and started the dispensary and then opened a youth center in Laytonville.

He was a true American. I dont want him to be forgotten. I just heard him say the other day, The more you give out, the more you receive to give out the next day, Morrison said.

Law enforcement officials are seeing more violence sparked by marijuana.

This time of the year there is always the potential for violence in marijuana grows due to the quantity of marijuana and the large sums of money that are exchanged, Miller said.


14 comments on “In 2005, Les Crane Of Mendocino County Was Robbed And Murdered By 6 Men Wearing Police Uniforms

  1. mari9205 on said:

    the first problem I see with this story, is that they were a couple who was engaged and she was sleeping in the other room. 2nd , they only broke her arm and that kind of makes me thinks she was involved and her broken arm was part of a coverup. Most marijuana robberies are inside jobs, and this one smells like one. the fact that they killed Les , was probably so he wouldnt come after them.

  2. jeremiah crane on said:

    I am Les’s son and am very curious what compels you to make the claim about how close you are to solving this. It just seems strange that a 7 year article would be titled like that. I for one would LOVE to know new information about that.

    • local mendo man on said:

      It has been my suspicion that law enforcement actually did have something to do with this murder in actuality. I knew Les Crane personally and i remember the local media and law enforcements response to his shooting. They were in on it. They had no compassion for his brutal murder. It seemed very suspicious to me at the time the way they almost acted like he deserved it in the local media and police reports. And i agree with you that i was curious about the claim that they had almost solved this…strange.

  3. mari9205 on said:

    Hello There Jeremiah,

    we have never met, so let me first say Im sorry for the loss of your dad. I met your dad in June/2005 in Lake County at Eddy Lepp’s farm. I smoked it up with him and his purple urkel all night long. We had a connection bc we were both east coasters and both had a strong passion for the herb. If I , in any way led you to believe I have information on whom your father’s killers are, I apologize.I do not have that information. I do think the bust in lake county where a former law enforcement employee was arrested by the FBI that he led multiple home invasions in and around lake and mendocino counties has some kind of information. Those suspects where- abouts should be accounted for on the night your father died. the Modus operandi is very similiar. I do not believe law enforcement is doing much to find your fathers killers, maybe im wrong… would know better than I would about that. I am here , on your side to help find the people responsible. Ill never forget nov.19th 2005 either. God Speed Jeremiah And RIP Les Crane

    • local mendo man on said:

      WOW! I had not even read this when i hypothesised that this murder was actually an inside job that the cops knew about and were in on. But my first thought was that local law enforcement had hired mercenary type rip offs to kill him to make a statement to the community. I know how fucked up the local law enforcement can be in mendocino ….they treat pot growers like they treated the indians. I also knew les…and he was a good man…and just driven for his cause as are alot of us. I truly hope that whoever killed him is brought to justice…especialy now that colorado and washington have legalised. Its time for change and retribution.

      • mari9205 on said:

        Les was a good man, its a shame what happened to him and we will always do whatever we can to help in anyway! thank you for your input……Local MendoMan ….RIP Les

  4. jeremiah crane on said:

    Thanks for responding. I agree the police haven’t done very much in the way of solving this. I guess if anything I was curious as to what was new here. I’m glad people are talking about this. Because I won’t be forgetting it either. However I’ve been gone from the area for a while. So I haven’t heard about this law enforcement raid you’re mentioning. I know a lot of info has been coming to light so id like to see something happen. But let’s be honest the cops probably are the best source of info on this. And the Count. Anyway thanks for posting this I hope we do see some justice done here one day.

  5. Les crane on said:

    Jerry this is Cornutt I am sorry that things never got off good for us I miss and love your family .i know .u are mad but hopefully forgive us I was trying to help .well luv u and your family Willis always asking bout u so give him a hay I am sorry

  6. Cornutt on said:

    Hay Jerry I wish you would call or email me i am hoping things are going good I know we had are ups and downs just wanted to let u know I miss u and family hope u the best always here for u cresent city Was a lot of it . I am to blame I just tried to help u I hope someone comes forward with some new info I sure do miss your pops hopefully drop a line

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