(Above: Hartman, Rice)

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at about 6:30 p.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a U-Haul truck near the 900 block of Redwood Dr. in Garberville. The U-Haul truck was observed traveling southbound in the northbound traffic lane and did not have headlights on.

Deputies along with Officer’s from the California Highway Patrol, contacted three subjects. When deputies approached the truck they could smell a strong odor of marijuana emanating from it. The marijuana odor was stronger near the rear cargo door of the truck. Deputies contacted the driver of the vehicle, Jason Micah Hartman, age 44, and Hartman stated he thought there was furniture in the cargo area and he did not have a key to it because he did not load the truck. Deputies were then alerted by an anonymous citizen who stated that a passenger of the U-Haul had fled while the Deputy made his initial approach on the traffic stop. The Deputy’s view was obstructed and did not see the passenger flee. The citizen advised the Deputy that he recognized the passenger who fled as one of the fugitives listed on the Southern Humboldt’s Most Wanted Poster. Deputies were able to locate the passenger who fled, Jason Eugene Rice, age 44, who was seen walking away from a nearby business. Rice was subsequently arrested for felony warrants. Rice was found him to be in possession of marijuana and approximately 43.3 grams of suspected heroin. The second passenger had a cite and release warrant. He was cited and released from the scene.

Deputies cut the lock from the truck and upon inspection of the cargo area, deputies located hanging marijuana plants, dried marijuana buds, hash, mushrooms, materials for a hash lab, and miscellaneous manufacturing equipment. Due to the size of marijuana seized, two Deputies with the HCSO Drug Enforcement Unit responded to assist with evidence collection.

Jason Hartman was arrested for HS 11359 – Possession of Marijuana for Sale; HS11360(a) – Transportation/Sale of Marijuana; VC24252(a) – Maintenance of Lamps and Device; VC21460(a) – Improper turns over Double Line. His bail has been set at $25,000. Jason Rice was arrested for HS11357(c) – Possess Marijuana over 28.5 grams; HS11350(a) – Possess Narcotic Controlled Substance; HS11379(a) – Manufacture/Etc Controlled Substance; HS11360(a) – Transportation/Sale of Marijuana; HS11377(a) – Possession of a controlled substance; and his outstanding warrants. His bail has been set at $500,000.  

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank community members who report suspicious behavior. This is a classic example of how assistance from the public can lead to positive changes. Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.