Two Indicted in Marijuana Growing and Processing Operation
10,000 Plants Seized, Six Juveniles Placed in Child Protective Services Custody
SEP 04 -- FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that a grand jury sitting in Fresno returned a two-count indictment today charging TERESA TAPIA, 39, and EDGAR TEJEDA, 18, both of Madera, with manufacturing marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team (MADNET), with assistance from the Madera County Gang Enforcement Team (MADGET), the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
According to Assistant United States Attorney Marlon Cobar who is prosecuting this case, on August 6, 2009, agents conducted a search of the defendants’ house and found a marijuana processing and packaging operation and a sawed-off rifle. Behind the house, hidden in a 1.5 acre corn field they found and eradicated approximately 10,176 live marijuana plants. Six juveniles were living in the house, five of which were identified as TAPIA’s children. Because of the dangerous living conditions there, Madera County Child Protective Services took custody of the children.
United States Attorney Brown said, “Unfortunately, the facts of this case show that the lure of marijuana profits can overcome the need to provide a safe environment for children.”
This case is one in a series of large-scale marijuana cultivation investigations during marijuana harvesting season this year. TAPIA and TEJEDA are scheduled for arraignment on September 4, 2009 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin. Both defendants remain in custody.
If convicted of all the charges, TAPIA and TEJEDA face a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, along with a maximum fine of $4 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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