FRESNO, Calif. — U.S. District Pass judgement on Dale A. Drozd sentenced Juan Penaloza-Ramirez (Penaloza), 46, a local and citizen of Michoacán, Mexico, living in Taft, nowadays to seven years and 3 months in jail for conspiring to fabricate, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana that was once grown at 3 separate marijuana cultivation websites within the Sequoia Nationwide Woodland, U.S. Lawyer Phillip A. Talbert introduced.
In sentencing Penaloza, Pass judgement on Drozd ordered the forfeiture of the seized money, firearms and ammunition seized throughout the investigation, and he ordered Penaloza to pay $10,198 in restitution to the U.S. Woodland Provider for the wear and tear to public land and herbal assets brought about by way of his cultivation actions.
Penaloza’s sentence follows his accountable plea previous this 12 months. In step with courtroom paperwork, Penaloza hired growers, deliverymen, and others to domesticate marijuana in Tulare and Kern Counties within the Sequoia Nationwide Woodland. The develop websites had been positioned at Fay Creek and Brush Creek, tributaries of the Kern River, and the Needles, a chain of huge granite rock formations close to the North Fork of the Kern River. Each wintry weather, Penaloza traveled to Mexico to recruit folks to develop marijuana on public lands in the US.
On the Fay Creek develop website online, legislation enforcement officials seized three,151 marijuana crops. Springs had been dammed and diverted to irrigate the marijuana crops and massive quantities of trash had been scattered right through, together with in a flowing circulate.
The Brush Creek develop website online contained 2,719 marijuana crops. To make room for the marijuana crops, the growers had eliminated new crops and timber that sprouted after the 2002 McNally Hearth. Legislation enforcement officials discovered massive piles of trash filled between boulders and buried alongside a circulate. The officials additionally discovered poisonous insecticides and fertilizers unfold right through the 10-acre website online.
The Needles develop website online contained 2,608 marijuana crops. Along with the presence of poisonous chemical compounds and waste, officials discovered that the water supply for the marijuana crops was once a spring that drains into the Higher Kern River.
Legislation enforcement officials additionally seized marijuana cultivation apparatus and provides, over $7,000 in money, 16 firearms and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition throughout follow-up searches of the apartments of Penaloza and co-defendant Russell Lee Riggs, 69, of Weldon, any other provider to the Fay Creek website online. Riggs pleaded accountable remaining week and is scheduled for sentencing on September 11, 2017.
This example is the made of an investigation by way of the U.S. Woodland Provider, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Management (DEA), the Bureau of Land Control, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Place of birth Safety Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Southern Tri-County Prime Depth Drug Trafficking House (HIDTA) job drive, the California Division of Justice’s Marketing campaign Towards Marijuana Planting (CAMP), and the Kern County Sheriff’s Place of work. Assistant United States Lawyer Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.