More Arvin Residents Indicted for Pot Grow and Destruction
OCT 08 -- FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Fresno returned a superseding indictment charging Olegario Aguirre, 27, and Jorge Reyes, also known as Rodrigo Hernandez, 33, both of Arvin, with four counts of conspiring to manufacture or cultivate 1,000 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and destruction of public lands and resources as a result of marijuana cultivation. Last month, the same grand jury panel returned an original indictment charging Guillermo Diaz, aka Joaquin Beltran, aka Daniel Morales, 23, and Salvador Rivera, 50, all of Arvin, with the same offenses.
The case is the product of a seven-month investigation conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Land Management, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Bakersfield Police Department, and Taft Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.
According to court documents and proceedings, Aguirre, Reyes, Diaz and Rivera transported and supplied materials and equipment to a marijuana grow site in the Sequoia National Forest consisting of approximately 4,375 marijuana plants. This area had been used by other marijuana cultivators in the past. Based on the amount of trash, water lines, and other items at the site, the cost of reclamation will exceed $3,000. In addition to the debris, the vegetation and land was altered by the cutting of native vegetation.
Aguirre, Diaz and Rivera have been ordered detained as a flight risk and danger to the community. They are next scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Fresno for arraignment and plea on the superseding indictment. Reyes was arrested by U.S. Forest Service agents on Wednesday, October 6, and will appear before a U.S. Magistrate in Bakersfield for a detention hearing and arraignment and plea on the superseding indictment.
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 destruction of lands charge carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.