Redding – Hammond, Indiana Police Department SWAT team members along with other law enforcement officers in East Chicago, Indiana arrested Freddie Alexander Smoke III, 39, of East Chicago, Indiana this morning without incident.
On July 11, 2014 at approximately 10 p.m. CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested Freddie Alexander Smoke III for allegedly starting the Bully Fire which burned 12,661 acres near the community of Ono in Shasta County. Officers believe that Smoke was operating a large rental truck to deliver soil amendments to an illegal marijuana cultivation site in the area of Roaring Creek Road and Sargent Road.
A civilian fatality, later identified by the Shasta County Coroner’s Office as Jesus Arellano Garcia, age 35 of Michoacán, Mexico, was discovered within the fire’s perimeter on July 16, 2014. The Shasta County District Attorney’s office filed additional felony charges against Smoke on July 22, 2014. These additional charges included involuntary manslaughter and a felony arrest warrant was issued with a $1,000,000 bail. Smoke had been released from the Shasta County Jail shortly following his arrest, after posting bail, and failed to appear in court to face these additional charges.
As part of CAL FIRE’s fire prevention efforts, officers work diligently to investigate the origin and cause of all types of fires. CAL FIRE is committed to holding those responsible who threaten the safety of the public. CAL FIRE law enforcement officers, with multiple cooperating agencies, have been actively pursuing leads regarding Smoke’s whereabouts. The investigation and arrest was aided by the United States Postal Inspectors, United States Marshals Service, East Chicago Police Department Narcotics Division, Shasta County Sherriff’s Office, and Shasta County Marijuana Eradication Team (MET).
“I’m proud of CAL FIRE’s law enforcement officers and all of the agencies involved, they have done an outstanding job”, said Chief Mike Hebrard, CAL FIRE Unit Chief and Shasta County Fire Warden. “A lot of time and energy has been invested into this investigation by many entities and we look forward to continuing to work with the District Attorney’s Office on this ongoing criminal case.”
Freddie Alexander Smoke III awaits extradition to Shasta County. Additional information regarding this ongoing criminal matter will be handled by the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.