LEMOORE — Officials arrested three men involved in the theft of 33 hemp plants after a high-speed police chase Tuesday.
Kings County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a rural area south of Lemoore around 1:30 a.m. on reports of several individuals who stole hemp plants from an industrial hemp field, according to a media release.
The suspects fled the scene at a high speeds in a red Chevrolet pickup truck after being confronted by the field's caretaker. Officers then located the pickup traveling north on 17th Avenue near Kansas Avenue.
Deputies attempted to stop the pickup, but the driver sped away, officials said. Deputies continued to pursue the pickup at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The pickup finally came to a stop near an orchard in the 13000 block of Kent Ave., where three male suspects exited the pickup and fled on foot.
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A perimeter was established around the orchard and a California Highway Patrol helicopter was requested to help locate the trio, officials said. A K-9 from Kings County and the Hanford Police Department were also utilized to help locate each suspect.
Officials eventually found all three suspects, who were later identified as 37-year-old Jesus Alvarado, 36-year-old Jose Torres and 27-year-old Javier Martinez.
During the apprehension of Martinez, a K-9 was utilized to safely take him into custody after he resisted arrest. Martinez kicked the K-9 in the head multiple times during the struggle, but the K-9 was not severely injured during the incident.
Officials later determined that the suspects stole from the field believing the plants to be marijuana. A total of 33 plants were recovered and returned to the owner.