United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Stockton Marijuana Grow Cultivator Convicted of Narcotics and Firearms Charges
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Friday, February 15, 2013
Docket #: 2:12,-cr-77-JAM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a three-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez, a federal jury found Brandon Alton Conley, 31, of Arroyo Grande, guilty of cultivating at least 100 marijuana plants and of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Conley was remanded into custody after the jury returned its verdict today. The jury deliberated less than three hours before reaching its verdict.
According to evidence presented at trial, between January 20, 2012 and February 15, 2012, Conley was involved in growing marijuana in a warehouse in Stockton. He provided two firearms to his co-defendant in order for him to guard the warehouse, including a pistol-grip shotgun.
After a tip to the Stockton Police about the warehouse, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force (METRO) began investigating. On February 14, 2012, agents from the DEA executed a search warrant and found approximately 2,000 marijuana plants, 2,000 starter clones and two loaded firearms.
In rejecting the defendant’s motion for post-conviction release, Judge Mendez characterized the evidence against the defendant as “overwhelming.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, METRO and the Stockton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard J. Bender and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Spivak are prosecuting the case.
Conley is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21, 2013, by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez. He faces five years to life in prison. The actual sentence, however, 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.
Co-defendant Ramon Gerardo Armenta, aka Lamberto Enrique Beltran, 43, of Arroyo Grande, pleaded guilty on May 22, 2012, and was sentenced on September 11, 2012, to three years in prison.