One of two teen hikers rescued from the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County, Calif. has been charged with drug possession.
Nicolas Cendoya, 19, was arrested Wednesday, weeks after investigators found 497 milligrams of methamphetamine in his car April 2, reports the OC Register. Authorities had searched his car, which was parked near the Holy Jim Canyon hiking trail, for clues that could lead to his rescue during the dramatic 5-day search.
Cendoya and Kyndall Jack, 18, had gone on what was supposed to be an easy day hike on Sunday, March 31. The pair got lost in the wilderness and were eventually rescued separately, several days later. Cendoya was discovered first, shoeless and less than a mile from his car on Wednesday. Jack was discovered the next day, also shoeless and clinging to a near-vertical rocky wall on the mountain.
The rescue operation, which spanned multiple law enforcement agencies, cost over $160,000. A reserve deputy volunteering for the search also fell 60 feet down a canyon and is recovering from a head injury, a punctured lung and broken ribs, reports the Associated Press.
After being treated at the hospital for severe dehydration and other issues, both teens gave short press conferences about what it was like to be lost in the wilderness for days without food and water.
Cendoya said he had lucid dreams and hallucinations that included feeling the presence of Jesus and his deceased friend, notes AP. Jack said she thought the whole thing was a dream, and that she was being eaten by a python. She also tried to eat dirt and rocks, and thought she was sipping water from a straw that turned out to be a tree branch, notes Mission Viejo Patch.
If convicted, Cendoya could face up to three years in jail. Cendoya denied Tuesday that he was on drugs during his hike, reports NBC Los Angeles, and also volunteered to help pay back some of the cost of the rescue.