Deputies arrest three men who attempted to steal marijuana posed as officers
COVELO, Calif. - On Sunday, July 16, around 2:35 a.m., a person called 911 to report that multiple armed subjects had just come onto his remote property in several vehicles claiming to be law enforcement.
The man said based on their appearance and demeanor he recognized that they were not actual officers but were there with the intent to steal his marijuana crop, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
The man told deputies he ran to call 911 after the suspects fired at him.
Deputies were in the area and contacted the man on Highway 162, where he described what happened and the vehicles involved, according to officials.
The man said he believed that another resident was still hiding on the property, officials said.
According to deputies, they drove to the property where they came across a truck that matched the one described by the victim.
However, the driver of the truck attempted to drive away upon seeing them and stopped the truck just out of sight, deputies said.
Deputies searched the truck and found firearms and stolen property but no suspects.
The other resident was found unharmed and he told deputies that he had been contacted at the house by five to eight men wearing ski masks, armed with guns, claiming to be law enforcement, according to officials.
According to the victim, the suspects questioned him at gunpoint about the location of valuable items and people on the property and then the suspects forced him into a truck. The victim told deputies the suspects threatened to shoot him if he did not comply.
The victim said he was robbed of his personal belongings and forced to help the suspects as they stole marijuana plants before being released as the suspects drove away, according to officials.
Deputies requested help from the Mendocino County Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT) to assist in searching the wooded remote area for the armed suspects.
Officials said at about 11:00 a.m., three suspects, Daniel Hernandez-Sanchez, Matthew Sturges, and Alejandro Nunez, were found and arrested without incident.
The mugshot for Matthew Sturges was not available on the Mendocino County Sheriff Booking Page.
The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is requested to call 707-234-2100.