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Drug bust turns into chase for police

Marco Cardenas, 31, of Turlock, was arrested on drug charges after he led sheriff's deputies on a five-mile chase lasting nearly 15 minutes.

Cardenas was booked into Stanislaus County Jail following the late-night pursuit Monday on West Main Street and Walnut Avenue in Turlock, which ended when Cardenas' truck hit a tree and he took off on foot, said Deputy Kevin Blake of the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

Blake, a member of the Sheriff's Tactical and Reconnaissance Team, said Cardenas was treated for minor injuries at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock and then booked into jail. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of narcotics, felony evading arrest in a vehicle and resisting arrest. He posted $50,000 bond and was released, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Blake said he had negotiated a deal over the telephone with Cardenas to buy crystal methamphetamine. When they met at a McDonald's at West Main Street and Walnut Road in Turlock, Cardenas left the restaurant at high speed when officers attempted to arrest him, barely missing the car of parole agent Craig Donnahoe.

Blake said the pursuit reached speeds of 115 mph and Cardenas went through several four-way stop signs, nearly hitting several vehicles. The chase extended into an orchard where Cardenas' pickup struck and uprooted two trees, nearly turned over before ultimately hitting another tree and stopping. The foot chase extended about a quarter-mile and Cardenas had to be Tasered before he surrendered, Blake said.

Two large bags containing 60 grams of crystal meth and a separate three-gram package were recovered, Blake said. He reported receiving information that Cardenas was dealing drugs before he negotiated the furtive drug buy.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or