Kern County Man Indicted For Marijuana Cultivation On Public Land
Perez-Pena was charged with five counts of conspiring to manufacture or cultivate 1,000 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and destruction of public lands and resources. The narcotics offenses all carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum term of life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $4 million. The firearms and destruction of lands charges each carry a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
While investigations of marijuana cultivation continue under the Operation Trident umbrella, 58 federal defendants have been indicted to date on federal criminal charges, and 25 have been convicted. In the course of these cases, law enforcement agents have seized about 75,809 marijuana plants, 104 pounds of processed marijuana, 6.9 pounds of marijuana seeds, two kilograms of cocaine, three pounds of methamphetamine, 17 firearms, and four vehicles.
The federal criminal cases resulted from the coordinated efforts of multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, the California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ICE Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE), California Department of Fish and Game, Central Valley HIDTA, and the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (CVMIT). Assistance was also provided by the Fresno County, Madera County and Tulare County District Attorney’s Offices. Additional federal prosecutions are contemplated upon completion of ongoing investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.
The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.