Four arrested after workers witness alleged burglary at marijuana farm
Four men have been arrested for allegedly burglarizing a Mendocino County marijuana farm and later leading responding deputies on a high-speed pursuit.
In the early morning hours of November 2, deputies were dispatched to a farm on the 2100 block of Highway 20 in Willits. Farm workers camping on the property had reportedly seen a group of men stealing marijuana plants and called the property owner, who in turn called the Sheriff’s Office.
Though the suspects had already left by the time deputies arrived, the farm workers were able to provide an account of events and a description of the vehicles — a minivan and a sedan. They said the vehicles had shown up at around 12:15 and pulled up to a storage building, about 60 yards away from the workers’ camp, where semi-processed marijuana was being stored.
The workers told deputies a group of men then got out, broke into the building, and began loading marijuana into their vehicles and later left without incident.
Shortly thereafter, deputies had concluded a preliminary investigation and were leaving the property when the suspect vehicles returned. Deputies then followed the suspects eastbound on Highway 20, until the vehicles branched off in different directions.
Deputies initiated a pursuit with the van after the driver fled from an attempted traffic stop, ultimately chasing it to the Upper Lake area, where assisting CHP officers deployed a spike strip that disabled the van’s tires brought the pursuit to an end at the intersection of Highways 20 and 29.
The driver, 24-year-old Christopher France of Willits, and a female passenger were detained while deputies searched the van. After finding evidence both in the van and on his person connecting him to the alleged burglary, deputies took France into custody.
Meanwhile, Willits Police Officers had caught up with the remaining suspects at a gas station at Highway 20 and Main, having spotted their vehicle and noting that it matched the description from the burglary.
Brandon Langenderfer (27) and Angelo Martinez (21) were arrested for their alleged roles in the burglary. A third person, Miranda Mullins (26), was also arrested on unrelated charges and a felony probation violation.
Deputies later conducted a search at the suspects’ Locust Street residence, finding the stolen marijuana hidden in a canvas carport.
All four subjects have since been booked at the Mendocino County Jail.