Two arrested after thwarted drug robbery

A Sheriff Deputy is assisted by a State Park Ranger Wednesday afternoon in Ben Lomond. (Contributed)

BEN LOMOND — Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday arrested two men from Texas after they allegedly tied up two people, beat one of them and stole 30 pounds of marijuana during an illegal drug transaction.

Noah Benjamin Hatcher, 21, and Anthony Charles Jefferson, 31, also reportedly fled into the nearby woods after the robbery, police said.

Both were charged with robbery, kidnapping, assault with a firearm, conspiracy and resisting arrest. They were being held in Santa Cruz County Jail Thursday in lieu of $150,000 bail, jail records showed.

According to Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dee Baldwin, Hatcher and Jefferson went to a residence in Ben Lomond to purchase 10 pounds of marijuana.

Instead, they allegedly tied two residents up with zip ties, beat one of them in the head with a gun and then stole 30 pounds of marijuana.

The victim was treated and later released from the hospital.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call from the residence, Baldwin said.

The suspects ran into the woods as deputies arrived and law enforcement officials conducted a search that included an airplane, a helicopter, three K9 officers and a drone.

Officers from Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz police departments, State Parks rangers, and the California Highway Patrol helped in the search.

Neighbors were directed to stay in their homes while the search occurred.

Hatcher was arrested within about 30 minutes, Jefferson was arrested “a significant distance from the victim’s home” soon thereafter, Baldwin said.

Deputies found two replica handguns that had been used in the robbery.

The marijuana, which was estimated to be worth about $50,000, was recovered outside of the home. It is not yet clear whether the residents will face charges for the marijuana possession.

“That will be determined during the course of the investigation,” Baldwin said.

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