K9 agents help track suspects near Raymond

Nearly 23,000 marijuana plants destroyed and two growers are behind bars after a nearly 2-hour long foot pursuit through extremely rugged and steep terrain in the foothills of Eastern Madera County.

Two K9 trackers were able to apprehend two growers that fled the garden when agents moved in just before dawn Thursday.

The two men arrested: 23-year-old Jose Ignacio Cardenas and his brother, Jorge Alejandro Cardenas, both from Mexico, remain jailed at this hour on felony drug charges.

The pair was operating what agents describe as an extremely large marijuana garden, complete with an elaborate drip system on private land located above Raymond.

When they ran from the garden, two K9 tracking agents with California Fish & Wildlife, Marijuana Enforcement Team, gave chase through dense brush, and poison oak; and dodged rattlesnakes while racing up and down 90 degree slopes, some, stretching more than a quarter a mile.

It took the two K9 agents nearly two hours to apprehend the suspects.

The plants were transported to an undisclosed location. The two suspects, booked into Madera County Department of Corrections, with bail set at half a million dollars each.

California Fish & Wildlife/Marijuana Enforcement Team and SWAT personnel assisted MADNET (Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team) in today’s eradication mission.

-Madera County Sheriff's Office