Marijuana Cultivation Operation in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Results in Federal Prison Sentence
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Isidro Alcazar-Tapia, 26, of Eureka, was sentenced today to seven years and three months in prison and ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution for conspiring to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and for depredation of public lands and resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Isidro Alcazar-Tapia and his brother, Arturo Alcazar-Tapia, 31, of Eureka, conspired to grow more than 20,000 marijuana plants at two sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County. The marijuana was packaged for distribution at a house in Eureka. On August 4, 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the defendants’ home in Eureka and found 33 pounds of processed marijuana divided into one pound packages and more than $6,000 in cash. At a cultivation site at Big French Creek, agents located and destroyed approximately 7,980 marijuana plants and arrested co‑defendant Ricky Martin Huerta, 21, of Eureka. At a site at Hobo Gulch Road, agents located and destroyed approximately 13,642 marijuana plants. Both grow sites are in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The marijuana cultivation caused significant damage to the land and natural resources of the forest that provides habitat for several threatened and endangered animal species.
At the Big French Creek site, agents observed hundreds of holes dug in the dirt containing soluble fertilizer, bags of trash, empty fertilizer bags, propane tanks, and water lines diverting water from a stream into the marijuana garden. Analysts estimate that cleaning the Big French Creek site will cost the U.S. Forest Service more than $4,000. Agents observed similar destruction at the Hobo Gulch Road site. Analysts estimate that cleaning the Hobo Gulch Road site will cost the U.S. Forest Service approximately $13,000.
All three defendants pleaded guilty in January 2015. On June 16, 2015, Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. sentenced Ricky Martin Huerta to two years and eight months in prison. Arturo Alcazar-Tapia is scheduled to be sentenced on October 23, 2015.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, North State Marijuana Team, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.