Honduran Citizen Indicted In Marijuana Grow House Conspiracy
Tampa, Florida - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces federal indictment charging Jose Luis Panameno-Chavarria (49, a citizen of Honduras) with conspiracy to possess with intent to manufacture and distribute 100 plants or more of marijuana and possession with intent to manufacture and distribute 100 plants or more of marijuana. Panameno-Chavarria is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison for the conspiracy and possession charge, and 5 years in prison for the firearm offense.
According to the indictment, on September 8, 2012, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call from a Plant City residence. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that Panameno-Chavarria had been shot during a home invasion. During the investigation, deputies discovered a marijuana grow operation in the house and nearby barn. A second individual, who had also been tending to the marijuana grow operation, was shot and killed during the home invasion. Panameno-Chavarria had been tending a marijuana grow-house operation, at that location, for over two years. Deputies and detectives confiscated 204 marijuana plants and a 12 gauge shotgun from the scene. An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez.