News and Press Releases

James Canyon Outdoor Marijuana Grow Site Eradicated - Charges Brought as Part of Joint Law Enforcement Effort

August 17, 2012

Reno, Nev. – Three individuals were arrested on August 15, 2012, by federal and local authorities on charges that they manufactured more than 1,000 marijuana plants in the James Canyon area in Douglas County, Nevada, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Ronald Pierini, Sheriff of Douglas County and Michael Haley, Sheriff of Washoe County. The charges are being brought as part of a federal and local law enforcement effort to combat drug trafficking and environmental damage to public lands.

Rafael Salas-Silva, 28, of Sparks, Nevada, Martin Urioste-Maciel, 26, of Pasco, Washington and Alberto Mendez-Arroyo, 23, of Reno, Nevada, are charged in a criminal complaint with the manufacture of more than 1,000 marijuana plants in a part of the James Canyon area in Douglas County, Nevada. The three individuals made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge on August 16, 2012, and were detained pending trial. They are scheduled to appear for further proceedings in magistrate court on August 30, 2012.

According to the complaint, on August 15, 2012, members of the Reno DEA Task Force, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, and the United States Forest Service initiated a search of James Canyon and the James Canyon marijuana grow site. During entry into the marijuana grow site, investigators observed an individual running from the area. The investigators ultimately located that individual, Mr. Urioste-Maciel, hiding in the James Canyon creek-bed next to Mr. Mendez-Arroyo, who was also in hiding. In addition to the arrest of these two individuals, Mr. Salas-Silva was stopped near the grow site in a vehicle that contained supplies, bags of fertilizer, sleeping bag, and a propane tank that was to be dropped off at the James Canyon grow site, and ultimately arrested. Upon inspection of the location, investigators were able to locate a fully operational marijuana grow of approximately 4,700 marijuana plants.

If convicted, the defendants face up to ten years to life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by members of the Reno DEA Task Force, United States Forest Service, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Keller. The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is a preliminary charging document and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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