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Press Release

Foreign National Indicted For Possessing Firearm And Growing Marijuana In Mendocino National Fores

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Ivan Espinoza Villafana, 24, of Mexico, charging him with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacture of marijuana, possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, and depredation of public lands and resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on August 19, 2014, law enforcement officers entered a marijuana cultivation site near Ice Springs in the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County. Villafana was arrested at the site and had a Smith & Wesson revolver in his possession. Officers also found a rifle in the camp area of the site. Significant natural resource damage was observed at the site. Vegetation and trees had been cut and removed to improve growing conditions for the marijuana plants, water was diverted from a nearby stream to water the plants, and fertilizers and pesticides were found at the site which, based on the terrain, would likely have drained into waterways in the National Forest.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Fish and Game. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Villafana faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the conspiracy and marijuana manufacturing charges, and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the other charges. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 8, 2015

Press Release Number: Docket #: 2:14-cr-258-TLN