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One man’s escape leads to another’s marijuana grow

POSTED February 20, 2014 6:11 p.m.

The friendship between two Turlock men likely took a hit Wednesday when one man, while trying to avoid arrest, inadvertently led police officers to his friend’s garage, where hundreds of marijuana plants were being grown.

The result of the misdirection was that both men were booked into Stanislaus County Jail on a variety of charges.

The incident began around 1 p.m. Wednesday when a Turlock Police officer spotted 32-year-old Robert Hernandez driving in Turlock’s Westside and recognized him as a wanted felon. The officer attempted to pull Hernandez over in the vicinity of S. Orange Street and South Avenue, But Hernandez decided to drive off at a high rate of speed.

Hernandez abandoned the vehicle at an alleyway near South Avenue and tried to make his escape on foot. According to the Turlock Police Department, Hernandez ran to Angelus Street and hid himself in a detached garage in the 300 block.

It was during the effort to apprehend Hernandez that officers came across the marijuana plants. The garage had more than 200 plants growing in it, with another 50 plants cut and ready for processing, police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis said.

As the investigation unfurled, it was discovered the garage belongs to Pedro Gil, 27, who was one of four people detained at the property.

Investigators also found a garage on an adjacent property that had more than 60 marijuana plants growing in it. Gil is suspected of operating that grow as well, Lewis said.

As the officers were taking Hernandez into custody, Gil allegedly became belligerent and was verbally interfering with the investigation, Lewis said.

Officers turned their attention to Gil, at which point Hernandez decided he would continue his bid for freedom. Despite being in handcuffs, Hernandez took off running. His attempt came to no avail when he was caught again about a block away.

A search of Hernandez revealed he was in possession of 20 grams of methamphetamine.

Hernandez was booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, auto theft, possession of methamphetamine, and for a warrant on a robbery charge from the Ceres Police Department. He is being held at the Stanislaus County Jail without bail.

Gil was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana. He is currently out of custody.

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