(CBS) SANTA ANA, Calif. - The Orange County Fire Authority has filed a lawsuit against two teens rescued from the mountains of Trabuco Canyon, alleging they are liable for the cost of bringing them to safety, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The rescue of 19-year-old Nic Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack reportedly cost the agency an estimated $55,000 in manpower and overtime.
Authorities say the teens admitted to taking hallucinogenic drugs on the night of Easter Sunday, prior to getting lost for several days. Cendoya was charged with possession of 497 milligrams of methamphetamine after police say they found the drug in the car that he drove up to the mountain.
Attorneys for the fire authority filed a legal brief Wednesday arguing that under a victim's rights law, the agency is entitled to recover costs, according to the station. In the brief, it is reportedly argued that the two teens admitted to ingesting the hallucinatory drugs before and during the hike and that they experienced hallucinations as a result.
"People have got to be careful. It is not a victimless crime as some people might think, because it caused a great deal of not just cost, but as you know, it resulted in injuries to a couple of people while they were out looking for Nic Cendoya," OCFA Division Chief Kris Concepcion said. "If it weren't for his criminal activity we wouldn't be doing that."
Nick Papageorge, a 20-year-old volunteer who helped in the search for the teens, is also seeking financial compensation. Papageorge was reportedly injured during the search and had to have back surgery and stay in the hospital for a week, costing him about $350,000, according to the station.
Papageorge reportedly says he had titanium screws put in his back after he fell about 110 feet off a cliff during the search.
Cendoya is scheduled to be arraigned on the drug charge on July 12. It is expected that the judge will also weigh the lawsuits against him on that day.