Kern County Man Caught Fleeing A Remote Marijuana Grow Is Indicted On Cultivation Charges
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Lazaro Sanchez-Lopez, 23, of Lamont, charging him with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing of marijuana and depredation of public lands, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on June 20, 2014, agents hiked for nearly two hours to execute a search warrant at a marijuana grow in the remote Flying Dutchman Creek drainage area in Kern County on Bureau of Land Management lands. Sanchez-Lopez was apprehended as he fled the grow area.
A total of 5,681 marijuana plants were eradicated from at least five separate plots. The site was littered with trash, irrigation hosing and camping supplies. The hillside was terraced by the growers and native vegetation was cut and removed to make room for the plants.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Frye is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Lazaro faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million 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 defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.