Four Indicted for Growing Marijuana on Federal Lands
OCT 01 -- (Idaho)- The federal grand jury in Boise has indicted four individuals with felony offenses relating to growing marijuana on federal lands in 2009 and 2010. Jose Cardona-Ramirez, 45, of Caldwell, Idaho, Victoria Villa-Gonzalez, 37, of Caldwell, Idaho, Francisco Cardona-Rodriguez, 37, of Rio Grande City, Texas, and Heber Franco-Lombera, 24, of Bieber, California, were charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants in Idaho, Oregon and California. Cardona-Ramirez, Villa-Gonzalez, and Cardona-Rodriguez are also charged with conspiracy to travel and transport in aid of racketeering enterprises (i.e., unlawful drug manufacturing and/or trafficking), and traveling and transporting in aid of racketeering enterprises. In addition, Cardona-Ramirez is charged with being a deported alien who has re-entered the United States unlawfully.
The investigation began with evidence of the defendants’ involvement in a marijuana grow on public lands in Malheur County, Oregon, and led to evidence of other marijuana grows on public lands in California. The investigation further revealed that the organization purchased supplies in Idaho for the benefit of marijuana grows in Oregon and California, and that processed marijuana was transported from these growing operations.
The indictment was the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Land Management, in conjunction with the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Caldwell Police Department, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and county sheriff offices in Modoc, Lassen and Shasta Counties in California.
The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification,investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.