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Drug find means hikers may be charged for search

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Two teen hikers lost for days in a California forest might have to pay for part or all of the $160,000 search after a small amount of drugs was found in their car, authorities said.

Officials initially said Nicolas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, wouldn't be responsible. But Cendoya was charged this week with drug possession because methamphetamine was allegedly found in the car the pair parked before going on a hike last month in Cleveland National Forest.

"The recent drug charge on Cendoya may change things," said Gail Krause, a spokeswoman with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Cendoya was found three days after he and Jack disappeared. She was found four days later. Both were dehydrated and delirious, and remembered little of their ordeal, including how they were separated. They also said they had hallucinations, with Jack saying she thought she was being attacked by animals.

"They didn't go out there to hike, they went out there to get high. And they got disoriented," Orange County board supervisor Todd Spitzer told the Los Angeles Times.

Spitzer said all options are being considered, including civil and criminal action. He hopes to have a recommendation to the board in the coming weeks.

Supervisor John Moorlach questioned why taxpayers should be penalized for what he characterized as reckless actions by the hikers.

"We certainly want to save them but, by golly, you were saved and you owe your society a debt of gratitude," he said, "and you need to pay the bill."

If convicted, Cendoya would face a sentencing range from probation to three years in jail.

by Anonymousreply 1605/28/2013

well, drug use would explain their exceptional stupidity

by Anonymousreply 105/03/2013

Now the story makes a lot more sense.

by Anonymousreply 205/03/2013

Make them pay

by Anonymousreply 305/03/2013

I had a feeling from the beginning.

by Anonymousreply 405/03/2013

SAR Volunteer to Sue Trabuco Teens

Broke his back in the search

By: Daniel D. Snyder

A search and rescue volunteer who broke his back looking for two meth-addled teenagers in Trabuco Canyon in April says he plans to sue Nicholas Cendoya if the 19-year-old is found guilty of drug possession. Nick Papageorge, 20, was hunting for the missing teenagers in Cleveland National Forest when he fell over 100 feet down a cliff face and broke his back.

Doctors had to implant two titanium rods and 11 screws to repair Papageorge’s spine, resulting in some $350,000 dollars in medical bills. He now believes he is entitled to some form of restitution.

Cendoya is scheduled to appear in court on July 12 to face charges over the significant quantity of methamphetamine that authorities found in his car during the search. Papageorge says he was aware that Cendoya and his companion Kyndall Jack might have been using drugs before getting lost, but joined in the search anyway.

If found guilty, Cendoya will still be eligible for a drug diversion program, which, if completed, will keep a drug conviction off his record. According to Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon, this would prevent Papageorge from seeking compensation for his injuries.

Under the current law, Orange County officials cannot seek restitution for the $160,000 they spent searching for Cendoya and Jack. However, Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Tustin, has signed on to carry a bill which will permit municipalities to seek compensation from people who endanger themselves through illegal or reckless acts.

by Anonymousreply 505/24/2013

Did anyone spot an RV in the canyon?

by Anonymousreply 605/24/2013

[quote]A search and rescue VOLUNTEER

by Anonymousreply 705/26/2013

There's no such thing as a "broken back."

by Anonymousreply 805/26/2013

I see. So when people get too drunk too function then, let's just let them drop dead because that's how we do things.

by Anonymousreply 905/26/2013

Relax - the whole concept of charging the sunjects of rescue operations is only in the planning stages.

There will be a cap on what the rescued would be charged. It will only apply if you can pay for it. They do not intend to bankrupt anyone, nor get into issues of whether assistance was requested (if not why should you ave to pay for a rescue).

And finally it would be only in cases of extreme foolishness - not where one got lost while hiking.

It's to combat the increasing number of risky behaviours resulting from YouTube videos and internet exposure. People who are not sufficiently fit are attempting what looks to them like fun - jackass in the wild.

by Anonymousreply 1005/26/2013

That's one of the dumbest tea bagger ideas I've ever heard, R10.

by Anonymousreply 1105/26/2013

Don't be silly r8. Every school kid knows that if you step on a crack you'll break your mother's back.

by Anonymousreply 1205/26/2013

I think r10 makes perfect sense.

by Anonymousreply 1305/26/2013

Of course, R10 does and R11, is way off the mark.

I am so for this, because what the hikers did was a blatant disregard to personal safety.

That's fine, if you want to risk your life, but don't come a calling, when you have sh*te for brains via your drug use.

by Anonymousreply 1405/27/2013

They will have to flip a lot of hamburgers to pay off $160,000.

by Anonymousreply 1505/27/2013

Well, we all have our burdens.

by Anonymousreply 1605/28/2013
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