KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Deputies arrested two men in Kings County Tuesday after stealing 36 hemp plants from an industrial hemp field and leading them on a high-speed chase.
The theft occurred around 3:30 p.m. in a rural area south of Lemoore, Cmdr. Mark Bevens of the Kings County Sheriff’s Office said. The suspects fled the scene at a high rate of speed in a white Nissan Altima after being confronted by the field’s caretaker.
Deputies tried to stop the suspects in the area of Jackson and 10th avenues but turned into a high-speed chase with speeds in excess of 100 mph down rural county roads.
Bevens said the driver lost control of the Altima and struck a tree in an orchard near 7th and Idaho avenues, but continued driving onto a nearby canal bank.
Deputies caught up to the car in the 14500 block of 7th Avenue after and took the driver, identified as Jose Martinez, 30, into custody.
Martinez told deputies he dropped off the passenger, Jose Salto, 34, near an orchard during the chase.
Salto was taken into custody after deputies found him in a walnut tree using a K9, Bevins said.
The stolen hemp plants were found inside the Nissan and were returned to the hemp farm.
Both suspects were booked into the Kings County Jail on multiple felony charges.