Nicolas Cendoya Cops to Holding Meth; Fire Agency and Volunteer Get No Restitution

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

nicholas-cendoya-hospital_square.jpg
A judge this morning rejected the Orange County Fire Authority's plea for $55,000 in restitution from a rescued hiker who later today pleaded guilty to having methamphetamine in his car while he and a friend were being sought in Trabuco Canyon.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston ruled there is no legal basis to force 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya to pay for the costs of April's search.

Johnston also rejected a similar claim from Nick Papageorge's, a 20-year-old volunteer who fell about 110 feet from a cliff during the search and later had titanium screws put in his back. His family has said surgery and a week-long hospital stay cost about $350,000.

The judge reasoned that Cendoya had only been charged with possession of 497 milligrams of methamphetamine; the Costa Mesa teen was not accused to being under the influence of the drug when he and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack got lost in the canyon.

Cendoya, who had no priors, later pleaded guilty to possession and was allowed to enter a drug-treatment program that, if successfully completed, will wipe the conviction from his record.

The Orange County Fire Authority and Papageorge's filed court papers last month seeking restitution under Marsy's Law, the California victims rights legislation championed by Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. Moments after Jack, the second of the disoriented and dehydrated hikers, was rescued, Spitzer publicly criticized the teens for wandering unprepared into the canyon, which is within his supervisorial district.

OC Fire Authority Seeks $55k as "Victim" of "Crime" by Rescued Teen Hiker Nic Cendoya
.
Cendoya said after his rescue (but before his arrest) he wanted to become a firefighter.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Hey I'm in a case where the paramedics removed an old man from my care last year because he has alzheimers/dementia and doesn't know what he's doing and they want to make me the scapegoat for his stupidity, he lied to the paramedics and told them that I punched him in the face but he actually suffered a near syncope collapse. 

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Salvador Barajas 

Last I checked stupidity is not a crime. The judge made a reasonable ruling under the law. Move on.

That's pretty true in some cases but then again i have seen and heard some pretty stupid judges too. After all they're appointed to the bench by someone else and they're nothing more than lawyers in black robes.

JRJones
JRJones

Meth improves athletic performance - just ask the 1970s San Diego Chargers.  He probably just needed to smoke MORE meth before the hike.

Patrick Galvin
Patrick Galvin

First of all, the drug accusations are just that - accusations. We'll see if they stand up in court. Second, last I checked, the whole point of Search and Rescue is - search and rescue! That's why they get all that state and federal money for all the bells and whistles. I don't get why they're so pissed off that they actually had to do their jobs.

secondarytradedesk
secondarytradedesk

Well I hear its highly addicitive and if anything they would have wanted to get home  sooner than later ---- before they started fiending 

Terry Hanly
Terry Hanly

Marsy's law should have entitled the volunteer to restitution.

Heather Southard
Heather Southard

The druggies should write an apology letter to tax payers and rescuers. How thankful they are that they were rescued and also mandatory rehab. I mean were these people even arrested for being under the influence? Weren't drugs found in the car? Can't remember. I haven't followed up on the story.

Thomas Bridges
Thomas Bridges

The people who do that job signed up knowing the risks? They were probably all fired up for a big search rather than sitting around at the fire house or writing traffic tickets. Your argument hold no weight.

Pat Burton
Pat Burton

Stupidity isn't but doing drugs is and risking the lives of people searching for them is just selfish. As a taxpayer I don't want my money wasted on idiots.

Salvador Barajas
Salvador Barajas

Last I checked stupidity is not a crime. The judge made a reasonable ruling under the law. Move on.

Thomas Bridges
Thomas Bridges

I think the superior court judge would know what he's talking about. He understands that idiocy has nothing to do with human life and why these services are payed for by our taxes every year. If you're pissed about high taxes then move to a different state.

Misty Marie
Misty Marie

Ohh hells no!! This little brat needs to pay up or do community service or something! He even better do some time for doing drugs!! Geezzz

Erika Blaska
Erika Blaska

Peyton this isn't about whether or not you get help, but whether you should have to PAY for the help you receive based on your own stupidity.

Barry Wood
Barry Wood

When you require an airlift from a remote location typically you're on the hook for the costs. How is this substantially different?

Pat Burton
Pat Burton

"What's next - pedestrian gets mowed down in the street by an SUV running the red light and the paramedics get to choose whether they will help based on what the victim is wearing?" What they are wearing? What a ridiculous comment.

Pat Burton
Pat Burton

It's not a question of approval. If you or I went hiking and got lost that's one thing. But doing drugs and climbing a tree because your stupid is different. What is others were lost at the same time and couldn't have been found because the rescuers were busy with these fools.

Peyton Farquhar
Peyton Farquhar

Since when is taxpayer financed search & rescue based on the approval or lack thereof of the lifestyle of the rescued? What's next - pedestrian gets mowed down in the street by an SUV running the red light and the paramedics get to choose whether they will help based on what the victim is wearing? #CrotchetyGreedyCruelOrangeCountyPolitics

Lurkeshah
Lurkeshah

The 55 grand he saved will buy plenty of gack to keep him and Kyndall tweeking on their next hike.  I hear Death Valley is totally amaaaazing when you are high.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Good. Someone needs to tell todd Spitzer to stop the revenue generating procedures hes taking. Hikers get lost dude we don't need to go charging them for the emergency services we are entitled to as citizens.

Thomas Bridges
Thomas Bridges

That's why the services are there in the first place. It doesn't matter why they got lost. Think with your brain.

Pat Burton
Pat Burton

I think it's ridiculous that this little punk and his girlfriend can do drugs, get lost and put other peoples lives in danger and walk away scott free. Great lesson for other idiots.

Eric Barnes
Eric Barnes

it's not like the idiot has money anyways..

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Trying to charge 2 kids for a 2-day mistake while continuing to cover up a 15+ year multi-million dollar mistake is a tad too much in the hypocrisy department. Justice served. 

Here's an idea: 

Since the police/fire folks in Orange County protect their brothers/sisters NO MATTER WHAT CRIME THEY COMMIT why don't all of you contribute $100.00 for this rescue person's medical bill. If there are 3500 peeps that would completely cover his bill. 

I mean if you are willing to play cover for murderers heck this should be nothing ... right? 

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

this is prima facia evidence that he govt is in full revenue generating mode. Our civil liberties are being trampled on left and right for the sole purpose of capturing money form ordinary citizens. Now Im not excusing the lad having 497 milligrams of meth which is actually half of one gram which is actually one half of one gram but posted as 497 mg to make it seem like a while shit load. Todd Spitzer should be ashamed of this lance titling expedition he took. Hikers go missing and get lost. It happens but that's hwy we have the emergency services.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Michelle Thomas only possession.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Heather Southard drugs in car, no use charges for either kid.


John.Ehrlichman
John.Ehrlichman

@Salvador Barajas-If it was a crime, Orange County would be a giant penal colony.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Barry Wood if you find yourself there and have no money, should they leave you?

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@LurkeshahMan, you are too square. I'll have to straighten you out. Now, listen, meth don't make you get lost or see stuff that ain't there. They used to give that stuff to the Luftwaffe pilots so they could do bombing runs 24/7. Think of it like a really really good cup of coffee. Remember that cup of coffee you had before you had a tolerance to it and it just made you feel great. Well that's what meth does. You ain't gonna get lost in the woods if you do meth. Take some jimson weed well thats a totally different story. See the jimson weed grows all over the mountains and that stuff takes you to the spirit world. Kids likely ate/smoked that stuff and lost their minds for a bit. Don't you know what I'm talkin' about?

John.Ehrlichman
John.Ehrlichman

@Paul Lucas-Spitzer is just another Republican jag-off.  The younger they are the crueler they tend to be.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@paullucas714 govt always has been in full revenue generating mode but now that they're jobs are more on the line they seem to have kicked it into full gear. Scumbag socialist union parasites. 

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

Loading...