Lead Defendant Sentenced to Over 13 Years in Prison in Trinity County Marijuana Case
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Bryan Schweder, 53, of Hayfork, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 13 and a half years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and for being a felon in possession of firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, federal search warrants were executed on two properties in Trinity County owned by Schweder. At his residence on Highway 3 in Hayfork, agents located Schweder and 10 of his co-defendants, as well as 347 marijuana plants, a large marijuana processing area with approximately 300 pounds of drying marijuana plants, approximately 110 pounds of processed marijuana, and eight firearms, including a loaded 9 mm Uzi semiautomatic assault rifle and an AK-47. At his Dirt Road property, agents located 146 marijuana plants and 10 pounds of processed marijuana.
According to court documents, Schweder was the manager of the growing operation. He has a criminal history that includes two felony convictions of possession of marijuana for sale (1999 and 2005), two felony convictions for being a felon in possession of firearms (1997 and 1999), and a domestic violence conviction (1995).
The following co-defendants pleaded guilty and have already been sentenced in this case or are pending sentencing:
On March 16, 2016, Effren Rodriguez was sentenced to 10 years in prison
On June 8, 2016, Brian Pickard was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison;
On March 30, 2016, Juan Madrigal Olivera was sentenced to two years and three months in prison;
On December 14, 2015, Manuel Madrigal Olivera was sentenced to five years in prison;
On January 28, 2016, Fred Holmes was sentenced to one year in prison;
On September 16, 2015, Paul Rockwell was sentenced to four years in prison;
On January 13, 2016, Rafael Camacho-Reyes was sentenced to six years in prison;
On March 19, 2014, Homero Lopez Barron was sentenced to three years in prison;
On July 2, 2014, Victorino Betancourt-Meraz was sentenced to three years in prison;
On June 4, 2012, Oseas Carnenas Tolentino was sentenced to three years in prison;
On March 19, 2014, Fernando Reyes Mojica was sentenced to three years in prison;
On June 4, 2014, Juan Cisneros Vargas was sentenced to three years in prison;
On March 19, 2014, Osiel Valencia Alvarez was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison;
On November 13, 2013, Filiberto Espinoza-Tapia was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison;
Leonardo Tapia, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20, 2016.
On April 17, 2015, Judge Mueller denied Pickard’s motion to dismiss the indictment and upheld the listing of marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance after a five-day evidentiary hearing. In a 38-page written opinion outlining the evidence and the position of the parties, Judge Mueller joined the numerous other judges who have concluded that a rational basis exists for the inclusion of marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Justice’s North State Marijuana Investigative Team (NSMIT). Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel Wong, Richard Bender, and Gregory Broderick are prosecuting the case.