HILMAR — Merced County sheriffs officials this morning were looking for four suspects who posed as narcotics investigators and robbed marijuana from a Hilmar man at gunpoint Thursday night.
The armed robbery occurred shortly before 8 p.m. at the mans home in the 23000 block of American Avenue, between Faith Home and Tegner roads.
The four suspects arrived at the home in two vehicles and told the man they were with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said sheriffs spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie. The suspects said they were at the mans home to check on his marijuana plants and ensure he was in compliance with state law.
After the man took the suspects into his marijuana plants, the suspects pulled out handcuffs and a handgun and handcuffed him.
MacKenzie said the suspects then harvested about 20 mature marijuana plants, throwing them in the back of one of their vehicles. One of the suspects went inside the house and found a handgun, which they took.
The suspects then uncuffed the man and pointed a gun at him, telling him not to tell anyone or they would be back. In the meantime, the Sheriffs Department received a call saying the incident was happening.
MacKenzie said the suspects then left in a green Toyota pickup and a black GMC Envoy sport utility vehicle. The suspects were dressed in shorts and T-shirts, but had nothing identifying them as law enforcement.
No injuries were reported.
MacKenzie said the resident had a marijuana garden for medicinal purposes, and there were some marijuana plants untouched by the robbers. He did not know how many plants were left behind.
The armed robbery in Hilmar comes after authorities in Stanislaus County have seized a significant amount of suspected illegal marijuana in the past three weeks. On Thursday alone, authorities confiscated nearly 2,000 marijuana plants growing at homes in Modesto, Ceres and Patterson.
Investigators ask anyone with information about this armed robbery to call the Merced County Sheriffs Department at (209) 385-7472.