United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Marijuana Grown on Public Land Nets 10 Years in Prison
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Docket #: #: 1:11-cr-0333
FRESNO, Calif. — José Diego Contreras-Ramírez, 26, of Mazatlán, Mexico, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for conspiring to cultivate, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grown on public land, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill also ordered Contreras to pay the U.S. Forest Service $1,763 to clean up the site. Upon completion of his prison term, Contraras is subject to deportation to Mexico.
According to court documents, Contreras assisted in growing 15,204 marijuana plants in the Nobe Young Creek area of the Sequoia National Forest. In so doing, native vegetation was destroyed to make room for the plants. Trash, fertilizer and insecticide containers were strewn throughout the grow site. When law enforcement officers encountered Contreras at the grow site, he was armed with a loaded 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol. Officers also found an assault rifle at the campsite, along with 50,640 marijuana seeds, ammunition, and digital scale.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Alyson Berg prosecuted the case.