LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two men and a woman were arrested and charged in connection with the allegedly drug-related killings of three men gunned down inside a home in an upscale Porter Ranch gated community.
The victims were found dead about 3:50 p.m. Feb. 18, when officers went to the residence in the 20300 block of Via Galileo on a report of unknown trouble, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The dead were identified as Gary Davidson, 39, who owned and lived at the home; Benny Lopez, 46, of Anaheim; and Jesus Perez, 34, of Perris.
The defendants, all of them 40 years old, were arrested Wednesday, LAPD Capt. William Hayes said. They were identified as Travis Reid of Randallstown, Maryland; Chaquetta Cook of Baltimore, Maryland; and Kenneth Peterson of Durham, North Carolina.
``Victims Davidson, Lopez, Perez and the three suspects were involved in the illegal sales and transportation of cocaine. It appears clear that Mr. Davidson knew the suspects and allowed them into the residence as to conduct an illegal narcotics transaction on Feb. 18, when the murders occurred,'' Hayes said. ``Yesterday morning, June 5, Maryland state police, Baltimore city police, Baltimore County police, Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives served search and arrest warrants in Baltimore and Baltimore County.''
Hayes said Davidson and the defendants are suspected of running ``a significant drug operation'' that allegedly moved cocaine from Los Angeles to the Baltimore area.
``We know that Davidson, Peterson, Cook and Reid worked together. It appears that the other two ... may have been related in other areas here,'' according to Hayes. ``I would say that it was a business dispute related to the illegal drug trade. I don't know the exact nature of that.''
Hayes told reporters shortly after the crime that detectives believed they knew what precipitated the killings, but details were withheld because of the ongoing investigation.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Reid and Peterson were each charged with three counts of murder, along with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, making them eligible for a possible death sentence. Cook was charged with one count each of murder and offering to transport cocaine.
The defendants allegedly arrived in Los Angeles the day before the killings, then left the night of Feb. 18, according to prosecutors.
All three defendants are being held on the East Coast, pending extradition to Los Angeles County. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Reid and Peterson. Cook faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Cook was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, while Peterson and Reid were being held without bail, police said.
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