News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California

K9 Catches Riverside County Man in Sierra National Forest Marijuana Grow

Thursday, September 19, 2013


FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a single count indictment today, charging Juan Vicente Avalos-Castandea, 20, of Perris, with conspiring to cultivate marijuana and possess with the intent to distribute, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Avalos-Castaneda was arrested on August 18, 2013, near marijuana grow sites in the Sierra National Forest, near Bakeoven Pass in Tulare County. Avalos-Castaneda ran from investigators and was chased down by a California Department of Fish and Wildlife canine. A search of the grow sites revealed more than two thousand marijuana plants.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Forest Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Rooney is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Avalos-Castandea faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



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