Fugitive ‘tired of running,’ surrenders at Mexico border in death of California pot farm operator

A fugitive marijuana plant trimmer suspected of fatally beating the operator of a pot farm in Mendocino County surrendered to authorities at the California-Mexico border this week because he was “tired of running,” officials said.

Michael Andrew Kane, 26, was taken into custody Monday on a felony warrant for homicide after turning himself to U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents, according to Sgt. Andrew Porter of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Kane had been living in Mexico when he reached out to his family and told them he was done running from authorities, the sergeant said in a statement.

The Pleasantville, N.Y., native was one of seven marijuana trimmers suspected of robbing and killing Jeffrey Quinn Settler in November, according to the sheriff’s office. Two other suspects have been arrested.

Authorities are still looking for Frederick Gaestel, 27, of Clifton, N.J.; Gary Blank III, of Elgin, Ill.; Gary Lynn Fitzgerald, 23, of Roanoke, Ill., and Jesse Wells, 33, of Laytonville, Calif.

Authorities think they fled south or out of state.

The men had been hired by Settler to trim marijuana plants and buds for his commercial marijuana operation on a rural property in the 49000 block of North Highway 101, according to Porter.

Authorities said the men had conspired to steal the marijuana, which had already been processed for sale.

After trimming plants for the day, the men returned to the remote grounds in the early hours of Nov. 11., he said. According to authorities, the men knew the marijuana was stored in Settler’s sleeping quarters.

So they entered the structure and attacked Settler, killing him, the sergeant said. The men also stole more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana, he said.

Later that day, someone reported Settler’s death.

When deputies went to the property, they found the 35-year-old native of Bethel Island, Calif., dead.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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