LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A convicted drug dealer was charged Thursday with the murder of a 20th Century Fox distribution executive whose body was found in the Antelope Valley in October, about 2 ½ years after he went missing.

John Lenzie Creech, 42, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in connection with the May 2012 killing of Gavin Smith, who had played basketball at UCLA in the 1970s.

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Smith, 57, was last seen between 9 and 10 p.m. on May 1, 2012, leaving a female friend’s home off Kanan Road in eastern Ventura County in his black 2000 Mercedes-Benz 420E.


Smith’s Mercedes was recovered on Feb. 21, 2013, at a storage facility in Simi Valley that authorities said was connected to Creech.

Smith’s remains were found in a shallow grave by a man walking with his dog on Oct. 26 in a rural area on the south side of Palmdale near the border with Acton, according to authorities.

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Creech is serving an eight-year jail term for his no contest plea in September 2012 to one count of sale or transportation for sale of a controlled substance, according the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

After Smith’s remains were found in a shallow grave, sheriff’s Lt. David Dolson described Creech as “still a person of interest.”

Smith had reportedly met Creech’s wife Chandrika while he was in rehab and the two had been involved in a relationship.

Creech faces a sentence of 25 years to life in person if convicted of first-degree murder.

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