Mojave Desert Victims Identified as Four Suspects Face Murder Charges

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has identified the final victims in the case of six bodies found in the Mojave Desert last month. Adrian Ochoa-Salgado, 41, and Narcisco Sandoval, 47, were identified Friday. The department had asked for the public’s assistance in identifying the victims and released a sketch of one of them, as well as photos of his tattoos.

The other four victims were identified as Baldemar Mondragon-Albarran, 34, of Adelanto; Franklin Noel Bonilla, 22, of Hesperia; Kevin Dariel Bonilla, 25, of Hesperia, and Jose Ruelas-Calderon, 45, of El Mirage. Calderon left behind eight children in Mexico, according to a GoFundMe page. The bodies were discovered just outside El Mirage after someone called 911 and said in Spanish that he had been shot, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Warrick.

Authorities believe the shooting stemmed from a possible dispute over marijuana. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said that the bodies were found in an area known for black market cannabis about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Five suspects were arrested and each face multiple charges, including six felony counts of murder. All pleaded not guilty last week and were held without bail.

In 2023, the sheriff’s department served 411 search warrants for illegal marijuana grow sites countywide and recovered $370 million. Deputies found 655,000 plants and 74,000 pounds of processed marijuana, as well as 14 labs producing honey oil, a potent cannabis concentrate. Eleven search warrants were served directly in the desert area where the slayings occurred.