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Mexican National Sentenced for Large Marijuana Grow on Public Lands

BOISE - Leonardo Villasenor-Cesar, 23, was sentenced on January 20th, 2011 to fifteen years in federal prison in connection with a marijuana grow located on U.S. Forest Service public lands. Villasenor-Cesar pled guilty last November to drug manufacturing and firearms possession charges.

Villasenor-Cesar is a native of Michoacan, Mexico and had entered the United States illegally. He had been living in the Caldwell, Idaho area.

Between May and August 2010, Villasenor-Cesar and other co-conspirators planted, fertilized, watered, tended, and began harvesting approximately 1,687 marijuana plants on public lands. Law enforcement officers were tipped off about the growing operation by a hunter. Federal and state law enforcement officers followed up and on August 31, 2010 carried out a joint arrest and eradication operation. They found two suspects in the marijuana growing operation and were able to arrest Villasenor-Cesar. The other suspect was able to evade capture in this remote, mountainous area. Villasenor-Cesar was armed with a loaded pistol at the time of his arrest, and another loaded pistol was found under his control. A stream had been dammed to provide water piped through plastic tubing to the cultivation plot. Two tents and primitive shelters were found, as well as cell phones, batteries, tools, and plant growing materials.

The case 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 United States Forest Service, in conjunction with the Valley County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Land Management, Canyon County Narcotics Unit, Boise Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Idaho State Police, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Idaho National Guard.


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