United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Forest Drug Operation Nets Nine Year Prison Term
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, August 20, 2012
Docket #: 1:09-CR-0339
FRESNO, Calif. — Miguel Gomez-Gomez, aka El Guero, 27, a Mexican national formerly residing in Dinuba, Calif., was sentenced today to nine years and 27 days in prison for conspiring to cultivate, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grown in the Sierra National Forest, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Gomez-Gomez, an undocumented alien from Guanajuato, Mexico who is subject to deportation following his prison term, was also ordered to pay $25,941 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for the costs of removing over 7,500 pounds of debris caused by the cultivation operation.
According to court documents, in the summer of 2009, Gomez-Gomez provided workers with supplies and materials for a site with 49,206 marijuana plants in the Rock Creek area of the Sierra National Forest. He also negotiated marijuana sales.
Gomez-Gomez is the latest to be sentenced in this seven-defendant case. Five have pleaded guilty and have received sentences of time served, four, five, 6.5, and 11.25 years in prison. Charges are pending against Diocelina Bustos Abarca. The charges against her are only allegations and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of a wiretap investigation by the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (CVMIT) of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. CVMIT consists of agents from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), National Park Service, California Department of Justice, and the Fresno County and Tulare County Sheriffs’ Offices. The investigation was also conducted in conjunction with Operation Save Our Sierra (SOS), a multi-agency marijuana eradication effort spearheaded in 2009 by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, which ultimately resulted in the removal of approximately 423,953 marijuana plants from public lands. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.