KINGS COUNTY — Deputies arrested two men early Tuesday morning for weapons offenses, among other charges, during a reported hemp theft, said the Kings County Sheriff’s Office.
Just before 4:40 a.m., Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a theft in progress from a hemp field in the area of Avenal Cutoff Road and Orange Avenue in Kings County.
Upon arrival, deputies said they located the suspect vehicle leaving the scene and a traffic stop was initiated.
The vehicle, a 2000 Jaguar, had been reported stolen out of the city of Chowchilla, officials said.
Deputies said the three occupants of the vehicle were detained including the driver, 38-year-old New Kee Xiong, and the two passengers, 28-year-old Peter Vang and an adult female.
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During a search of the vehicle, Sheriff’s officials said a Hi Point 9 MM handgun was located. They said Xiong was determined to have several prior felony convictions, including vehicle theft and a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities said Xiong was arrested for weapons offenses, possession of a stolen vehicle and forgery. They said Vang was arrested for a weapon offense as well.
The woman in the vehicle was determined to not have been involved with the theft and was released, deputies said.
Officials said a 14-year-old female had been left at the scene by the suspects and was later returned to her family.