United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Three Indicted For Squaw Valley Marijuana Cultivation Operation
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Thursday, September 20, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. — Three defendants were indicted today for their involvement in a large marijuana cultivation operation in Squaw Valley, Calif., U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The indictment charges Bounseuth Thourakhone, aka Boun Seuth Thourakhone, 52, of Fresno; Bounhome Singharath, 62, of Las Vegas, Nev.; and Kimxay Siribounthong, 54, of El Sobrante, Calif., with conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants from rural farmland in Squaw Valley rented by Thourakhone. All three defendants were found at the property and admitted to growing marijuana there. According to the criminal complaint filed in this case, Siribounthong told agents that he grew marijuana last year, but law enforcement officers took it away. He went on to say that he was growing marijuana this year and would grow marijuana again next year.
If convicted of the drug charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentences, if convicted, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
A federal magistrate judge has detained all of the defendants, after finding they posed a flight risk or danger to the community. The defendants are scheduled for arraignment and plea on the indictment on September 21, 2012, in federal court in Fresno. The allegations in the indictment are mere accusations and all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.