Three Redwood City men accused of stealing 50 pounds of marijuana from a drug dealer before abandoning the drugs in a Target store parking lot pleaded not guilty Friday to several felony charges, San Mateo County prosecutors said.
The three men allegedly went to the unincorporated Redwood City apartment of 28-year-old Adalid Sanchez on Sept. 16 to buy the drugs from him, authorities said.
Sanchez intended to sell the 50 pounds of marijuana for $70,000, but two buyers — Jose Gutierrez and Carlos Martinez — pulled out handguns inside the apartment, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Gutierrez, 25, and Martinez, 36, tied up Sanchez, then took the drugs and loaded them into a car driven by Oscar Carmona, 21, and drove away, prosecutors said.
Within minutes, Sanchez untied himself and got into his own car, which had been stolen, officials said. He pursued the three men to the parking lot of the Target store at 2485 El Camino Real, where the robbers’ car was stuck in traffic, authorities said.
Carmona tried to escape by ramming the car in front of him, causing unknown injuries to one of its occupants, Wagstaffe said. Gutierrez, Martinez and Carmona then ran away from the car, leaving the drugs inside, officials said.
Sanchez arrived at the abandoned car and unloaded his marijuana, which was packed in large black trash bags, then drove away, authorities say. But a passing motorist reported Sanchez’s license plate and direction of travel to police, who pulled him over near 9th Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue and arrested him. Gutierrez, Martinez and Carmona were arrested hours later at two Redwood City apartments, police said.
Prosecutors charged Gutierrez and Martinez with robbery, making threats, false imprisonment, possession of marijuana for sale and sale of marijuana. Carmona faces those charges plus two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of felony hit and run.
Sanchez — who also pleaded not guilty Friday — faces charges of possession of marijuana for sale, sale of marijuana, auto theft, hit and run, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.
All four suspects remained in custody as of Friday. Bail was set at $25,000 for Sanchez and $250,000 for the other three suspects.
By Shaun Bishop