United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Mexican National Sentenced For Marijuana Grow In National Forest
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, May 21, 2012
Docket #: 1:10-cr-00353-LJO
FRESNO, Calif. — Jorge Alejandro Aburto, aka Jorge Alejandro Gallegos, 28, of Michoacán, Mexico, was sentenced today to six years and eight months in prison by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill for conspiring to cultivate, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
His sentence follows his guilty plea last year. In pleading guilty, Aburto admitted that he had conspired with others to grow approximately 6,867 marijuana plants on public land in the Bohna Creek area in Sequoia National Forest in Kern County. The marijuana growing operation resulted in significant environmental damage. Law enforcement officers found malathion, urea fertilizer, batteries, several thousand feet of plastic irrigation lines, and trash at the grow site. Oak trees and other vegetation were cut to allow sunlight to reach the plants. Aburto was ordered to repay the government $3,825.10 for cleaning up the site.
Aburto has been in custody since July 26, 2010 after having been ordered detained as a flight risk and danger to the community. He is subject to deportation after his prison sentence.
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Kern County Probation Office, Bakersfield Police Department, Shafter Police Department, and Taft Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Karen Escobar and Alyson Berg prosecuted the case.