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Press Release

Mexican National Sentenced For Conspiracy To Manufacture And Possess With Intent To Distribute Marijuana

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Defendant was responsible for growing marijuana on twelve acres of federal land

DENVER – Margarito Yepez-Sanchez, age 25, a Mexican national who is in the United States illegally, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 36 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants, U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn, U.S. Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Kent Delbon, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steven W. Cagen announced.   The defendant appeared at the sentencing in custody and was remanded at the hearing’s conclusion. 

Yepez-Sanchez was first charged by criminal complaint on September 21, 2017.  He was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 11, 2017.  His guilty plea to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana was accepted by Judge Jackson on August 10, 2018.  Yepez-Sanchez was sentenced on November 15, 2018.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, in August 2017, federal agents discovered an illegal marijuana grow in the San Isabel National Forest.  On September 20, 2017, agents and officers from multiple agencies executed a federal search warrant on the marijuana grow site.  The grow consisted of approximately 13,800 marijuana plants and at least 120 pounds of processed marijuana.  About twelve acres of federal lands were affected. 

At the site law enforcement discovered two sleeping areas constructed of cut pine timber as well as two kitchen areas, additional sleeping areas, multiple marijuana-drying areas, and a man-made reservoir.  Among other items, law enforcement found bottles of insecticide, rodenticide, and fertilizer.  After law enforcement announced their presence the defendant fled uphill wearing socks but no shoes.  A foot chase ensued resulting in the defendant being caught after law enforcement deployed a Taser.  The defendant led the agents and officers to his sleeping area in the marijuana grow location. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service and Homeland Security Investigations.  The following additional agencies assisted with the execution of the search and arrest warrants:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado National Guard.

The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily May.


Jeff Dorschner
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax

Updated November 20, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CASE NUMBER: 17-cr-00372