Francestown: Family arrested on pot charges

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 7:4PM
TIMELINEMay 17: Timothy Sweeting killed in Covelo, Calif.May 23: Joshua Ruoff arrested in Concord for the murder and held with contesting extradiction.August 11: John, Robert and Katherine Overend arrested in Covelo on three marijuana-related charges.

Three members of a Francestown family were arrested in California for allegedly operating a marijuana ring, according to police.

Police allege John Overend, 28, who resides in Covelo, California, was operating an illegal marijuana farm in Covelo on land owned by his parents, Robert and Katherine Overend, 66 and 67 respectively, of Francestown. According to police, the couple bought the land knowing it would be used to cultivate marijuana, and that they had received financial profits from the operation.

All three were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, and being armed while committing a felony.

Authorities in Mendocino County, California, found 190 growing marijuana plants, 5 pounds of processed marijuana and shipping materials, according to police. “Additional evidence of marijuana sales for profit to include a large sum of US currency was also located,” they said.

At least one firearm was found at the location, according to reports.

The search was executed on a warrant issued after the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit intercepted a shipment of marijuana from John Overend in Covelo to his parents in Francestown.

New Hampshire State Police and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were already in contact regarding an ongoing homicide case that may be connected to the cannabis operation.

“In May of 2016, investigators from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau were in contact with the New Hampshire State Police regarding a homicide investigation that occurred at 23501 Charlie Hurt Highway in Covelo, California,” according to a police statement.

Joshua Ruoff, 30, of Lake Tahoe, California, formerly from Antrim, was arrested in Concord on May 23 for allegedly murdering Timothy Sweeting, 30, of Rohnert Park, California, at 23500 Charlie Hunt Highway, on May 17, according to police.

Sweeting’s body was discovered and unearthed on June 2. He was allegedly beaten to death with a blunt object.

The addresses police responded to for the marijuana investigation and the murder investigation are in close proximity in Covelo.

Ruoff was booked into Merrimack County Jail and is fighting extradition to California.

As of the August 12 press release, the Overends were held in the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of paying $50,000 bail.

It also said there was no evidence the farm was being used to cultivate medical marijuana, which is legal in California.

Brittany Leuvano, a legal support specialist for the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, said asset forfeiture papers have been filed, but that the DA is still awaiting the official police report.


Brandon Latham can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or blatham@ledgertranscript.com. He can also be reached on Twitter @blathamMLT.