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Marijuana Cases Update

APR 28 (FRESNO, Calif.) — Three marijuana cultivators were sentenced today in separate large-scale marijuana cultivation cases involving private lands in Stanislaus and Fresno Counties.

Fresno/Alabama Drug Ring Member Sentenced (1:12-cr-38 AWI)

Herman Graves, 47, of Fresno, was sentenced eight months in custody (four months in prison and four months home detention) for conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grown on South Marks Avenue in Fresno County. The marijuana had been designated as “medical” but was, in fact, destined for distribution in Birmingham, Ala.

This case is the product of an investigation by the DEA and IRS Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Birmingham, Ala., California Highway Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police Department, Birmingham Police Department, and the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement Team. 

907 Marijuana Plants/Firearm Seized from Stanislaus County Riverside Grow
(1:12-cr-342 AWI)

Sengphachanh Boungnavong, 34, of Fresno, was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to cultivate, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 907 marijuana plants grown in Newman, California beside the San Joaquin River. Water was diverted from the San Joaquin River to irrigate the illegal cultivation operation. During the execution of a search warrant there, drug agents found Boungnavong at the cultivation site, along with four other men who have entered guilty pleas in this case. The agents found and seized 907 marijuana plants, a handgun, respirators, motion detectors, chemicals, fertilizers, and “medical” marijuana recommendations from a doctor who has been charged in another federal case with the unlawful distribution of other controlled substances. Marijuana is a prohibited Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

This case was investigated by the DEA and Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, a multi-agency drug task force in Modesto.

816 Pounds Processed Marijuana Seized from Fresno County Agricultural Grow
(1:11 cr-0357 AWI)

Reney Bousangouane, 50, of Fresno, was sentenced today to one year of home detention for his involvement in a large marijuana cultivation operation on agricultural land on Armstrong Avenue in Fresno County. According to court documents, Bousangouane was involved in the cultivation and processing of more than 800 pounds of marijuana grown at a property leased by his brother, Shavane Bousangouane. Shavane Bousangouane was previously sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for his involvement in the cultivation operation. The property is the subject of pending civil forfeiture action initiated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the criminal cases and Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Khasigian is handling the forfeiture of the property referenced in the Bousangouane case.

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