Four Indicted For Cultivation In Shasta-Trinity National Forest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today, charging four defendants with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, and depredation of public lands and resources, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Arturo Alcazar-Tapia, 30; Isidro Alcazar-Tapia, 25; Victor Manuel Alvarez-Contreras, 19; and Ricky Martin Huerta, 20, all of Eureka, conspired together to grow marijuana at two sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County. The marijuana was then packaged for distribution at a house in Eureka.
According to court documents, on August 4, 2014, agents executed a search warrant at the defendants’ home in Eureka. They found 33 pounds of processed marijuana divided into one‑pound packages and more than $6,000 in cash. The next two days the agents searched two marijuana cultivation sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest: one near Big French Creek and one near Hobo Gulch Road. Approximately 7,980 marijuana plants were eradicated from the first site and 13,642 marijuana plants at the next. The marijuana cultivation caused significant damage to the land and natural resources of the National Forest, an area that provides habitat for several threatened and endangered animal species.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, North State Marijuana Team, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.
The sentence for the conspiracy charge is five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The sentence for the manufacture of marijuana charges is up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The sentence for depredation of public lands and resources charge is up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.