Monday, November 3, 2008

Pair arrested in theft of 14-foot-tall marijuana plant

November 01, 2008 12:44:00 AM

Two gang members were arrested for the theft of a 14-foot-tall marijuana plant from the back yard of a Linda residence, Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor said Friday.

The victim, who had a medical marijuana prescription, put the value of the plant at $20,000, said Durfor.

Several neighbors called the Sheriff's Department shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday to report gunshots and two men jumping over fences. Witnesses provided a very detailed description of a white Ford Expedition used in the theft.

At about 11 a.m. Thursday, the department learned the Expedition was parked at Yuba College with a shotgun in the back. Deputies arrested the driver, Abigail Chavez, 18, of the 1900 block of Country Club Court, on suspicion of possessing a loaded gun with an altered serial number on a school campus.

After investigators confirmed Chavez is a member of the NorteƱos gang, the Yuba County Gang Unit, assisted by the Yuba-Sutter Gang Enforcement Detail, arrested another member, Jesus Estrada, 19, of the 4900 block of Western Avenue, on suspicion of grand theft and criminal street gang membership.

Search warrants were served at each suspect's house, leading to the discovery of 5 pounds of marijuana believed to be from the stolen plant, Durfor said.

Both suspects were being held Friday in Yuba County Jail, Estrada on $40,000 bail and Chavez on $25,000 bail.

"We believe that at least one more female and one more male, both gang members, were involved in the theft," Durfor said.

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