Two Suspects in Murder of Marijuana Tycoon Worked for Him: Cops

Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office
Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office

Officials said two of the suspects, brothers Kaleb and Kurtis, worked for Atre’s weed business, Interstitial Systems.

Four suspects have been arrested in the murder of millionaire cannabis and tech entrepreneur Tushar Atre, and two of them were employees of his successful marijuana business, according to California authorities. Kurtis Charters, 22, Stephen Nicolas Lindsay, 22, Kaleb Charters, 19, and Joshua James Camps, 23, were arrested Tuesday and charged with kidnapping, murder and robbery.

“We had a huge suspect pool that we had to narrow down. We have the right people, we have compelling evidence. This man was sleeping in his home, people entered the home, kidnapped him, and murdered him,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said at a press conference.

Officials said two of the suspects, brothers Kaleb and Kurtis, worked for Atre’s weed business, Interstitial Systems. Police said names of people who worked for Atre, 50, came up early in the investigation, and they were eventually able to gather more information to narrow down suspects. 

Atre was kidnapped from his home on Oct. 1, 2019 and driven to another home he owned in Santa Cruz, where he operated his cannabis facility. He was later found shot to death in his girlfriend’s BMW, which was left in the Santa Cruz mountains, according to authorities. Investigators said signs in his home pointed to the fact that he put up a struggle. 

A month after Atre’s death, authorities released footage of three men, one of whom was carrying a rifle, and another a duffel bag, near Atre’s home. The video wasn’t enough to help solve the case, though, authorities said. As police investigated, members of the community raised $200,000 for tips leading to an arrest in the case.

“We butted up against a lot of closed doors over the last seven or eight months,” Hart said. “And every time that happened, our investigators found somewhere else to go with this case. This case was solved by outstanding police work being supported by a lot of different groups. I'm extremely proud of the work our investigation teams did. All of that work has culminated into bringing four people who did a very awful thing to justice.”

Three suspects are in jail in Santa Cruz being held on no bail, while another awaits extradition to California from Michigan.