Defendant Sentenced to over a Year in Prison for Growing Marijuana and Destruction of the Plumas National Forest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alejandro Soto-Silva, 24, a Mexican national, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to one year and six months in prison and restitution of $9,572 for growing marijuana and for depredation of public lands, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on July 30, 2014, a team of Plumas County Sheriff’s Office deputies and U.S. Forest Service agents raided a large marijuana cultivation site near the Soda Creek drainage on the Plumas National Forest. After entering the marijuana cultivation site, agents and deputies observed Soto-Silva nearby. Shortly after spotting Soto-Silva, deputies and agents arrested him in an area of the marijuana cultivation site used to process marijuana. Close to where they arrested Soto-Silva, law enforcement observed 30-40 pounds of processed marijuana in black plastic bags.
Law enforcement surveyed the marijuana cultivation site and counted 3,724 growing marijuana plants. They also documented habitat destruction to the Plumas National Forest caused by activities associated with marijuana cultivation, including trail building, forest clearing, irrigation, pesticide use, and extensive garbage throughout the cultivation site. Further, law enforcement observed water being diverted from forest waterways in order to cultivate marijuana. Rehabilitating and remediating the National Forest habitat injured by the marijuana cultivation will cost the U.S. Forest Service at least $9,572.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith prosecuted the case.