Illegal Alien Sentenced To 20 Years Imprisonment For Marijuana Production
Yakima – Today, Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Antonio Aguilar-Lopez, age 25, a citizen and national of Mexico, was sentenced for the crime of manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants between June 8 and July 10, 2009, and the crime of being an alien in the United States after deportation. On October 5, 2011, following a three day jury trial in Richland, Washington, Antonio Aguilar-Lopez was convicted of the crime of manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez previously pleaded guilty to the crime of being an alien in the United States after deportation. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez was sentenced to a term of 240 months (20 years) imprisonment followed by 10 years of court supervision after he is released from prison, for manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez was also sentenced to 10-months imprisonment followed by 3-years of court supervision for being an alien in the United States after deportation. The Court ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. The Defendant has been in custody since July 10, 2009.
In June 2009, the Benton County Sheriff's Office began the investigation of a marijuana grow operation in the Hover Park area, next to the Columbia River. On July 10, 2009, law enforcement officers observed Antonio Aguilar-Lopez tending the marijuana grow with a juvenile male while the marijuana garden was under surveillance. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez and the juvenile were arrested after both attempted to flee. The marijuana was removed and found to include 1,306 marijuana plants, ranging in size from 2 inches to 3 feet. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez was also determined to be a citizen and national of Mexico who was illegally present in the United States after a prior deportation. Antonio Aguilar-Lopez faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 240 months imprisonment due to a prior felony drug trafficking conviction in Idaho. He will once again be deported when he is released from prison.
Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, "the United States Attorney's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and our state and local partners are committed to investigating and prosecuting the manufacture of marijuana in our communities. Large commercial operations like the one in this case are very dangerous and those responsible for them must be pursued and dealt with as severely as possible."
This investigation was conducted by the Benton County Sheriff's Office, the Tri Cities Metro Drug Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington.