Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Molotov Cocktails, Sawed-Off Shotgun, Illegal Fireworks: Willits Trio Arrested After Search Warrant Elicits Illegal Stockpile

The following is a press release issued by the Willits Police Department. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

The stockpile of illegal guns, ammunition, fireworks, incendiary devices, and drugs found at a Willits home [Photograph from the Willits Police Department]

In the late evening of January 3rd, 2023, Willits PD (WPD) Officers, with the assistance of Deputies of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) served outstanding felony arrest warrants on Derek Cleek (44, Willits), and Denesa Cleek  (50, Willits) at a residence in Brooktrails. Derek was also known to law enforcement to be on out-of-county felony probation with terms to include a search/seizure clause.  

During the service of the arrest warrant, Denesa obstructed/delayed Officers entry into the residence by locking the deadbolt and fleeing out of sight into a room in the residence. After numerous attempts to contact, Derek answered the front door and allowed the Officers entry. Denesa and Garrick Hornlein (44, Willits) were both found in one of the rooms. Hornlein is on Post Release Community Supervision  (PRCS) out of Solano County and had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest out of the same county. Hornlein’s status on PRCS also allows for search/seizure of his person/property. 

Derek’s room was identified by indicia and Officers/Deputies observed him leaving the room. Inside Derek’s room officers found a .44 Magnum Lever Action Rifle,  and glass bottle Molotov Cocktails in plain view. The Molotov Cocktails were assembled and ready for use, containing a liquid with rags (“wicks”) for use.  Observed nearby were bottles of paint thinner and rubbing alcohol. WPD and  MCSO secured the residence. 

Derek, Denesa, and Garrick were transported to the county jail while a search warrant was authored for the residence. 

WPD Officers subsequently served the search warrant, approved by a judge. In  Derek’s room, Officers located the following: 

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  • Marlin Model 1894 .44 Magnum rifle (not loaded) 
  • Three loaded hypodermic needles 
  • Two mortar/missile-style fireworks 
  • Two bottle rocket fireworks 
  • 696 rounds of pistol ammunition of various calibers 
  • Several magazines for rifles and pistols, both loaded and unloaded
  • Three ready-to-use Molotov Cocktails 
  • Paint thinner and rubbing alcohol containers next to the Molotov Cocktails 

The Molotov Cocktails were found to be filled with the rubbing alcohol, or a combination of the rubbing alcohol and paint thinner. 

The loaded hypodermic needles were later tested and found to contain methamphetamine.  

Garrick was booked into the county jail for his outstanding felony warrant. Denesa was booked for her outstanding felony warrant and violation of 148(a)(1) PC – Resist/Obstruct/Delay an Officer. 

Derek was booked into the county jail for: 

  • 1203.2 PC – Violation of Probation (Felony) 
  • 11377(a) HS – Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  • 11364(a) HS – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 
  • 18710 PC – Possession of Destructive Device 
  • 18720 PC – Possession of Destructive Device Materials 
  • 12700(a)(1) HS – Possession of Unsafe/Dangerous Fireworks 
  • 29800(a)(1) PC – Felon in Possession of Firearm 
  • 30305(a)(1) PC – Felon in Possession of Ammunition 
  • 33215 PC – Possession of Sawed-off Shotgun 

WPD would like to thank the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.

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  1. Tweaker#1: let’s stick needles in our arms & fill our blood stream with poison
    Tweaker#2: okay! I’ve got all this extra rubbing alcohol & paint thinner. Should we drink it or make molotov cocktails?
    Tweaker#1: let’s make molotov cocktails with the paint thinner & drink the rubbing alcohol.
    Tweaker#2: yeah, great idea! & then we’ll set off a bunch of illegal fireworks to draw attention to ourselves.
    Tweaker#1: It’ll be fine! No one can see us through the tinfoil covering our windows.
    Tweaker#3: come on in officer. Can i interest you in some firearms & ammunition?

  2. These numbskulls are actually fortunate to be arrested. They would have probably caught themselves and the neighborhood on fire at some point. Now they get to go cold turkey into lock-up. Curious what their plan was for the Molotov Cocktails?

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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