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Press Release

Marijuana Cultivators Indicted for Growing Marijuana in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment Thursday against Jesus Gonzalez-Alvizo, 25, and Reimundo Arriaga-Arriaga, 37, residents of Mexico, charging them with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacture of marijuana, possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and depredation of public lands and resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on August 6, 2015, federal and state law enforcement authorities searched a marijuana cultivation site near Tedoc Gap in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Tehama County where they found approximately 4,838 marijuana plants growing. Gonzalez‑Alvizo and Arriaga-Arriaga were found at the site and were carrying handguns. They were arrested and are in custody pending trial.

A scientific expert who evaluated the marijuana cultivation site noted extensive resource damage at the site. The expert noted that chemical pesticides at the site included Carbofuran, a highly toxic chemical that is extremely dangerous to humans and to aquatic and terrestrial life, and which is banned in the United States.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the North State Marijuana Investigation Team (NSMIT), the Bureau of Land Management, and the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Gonzalez-Alvizo and Arriaga-Arriaga face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $10 million fine on the conspiracy and manufacture of marijuana charges. They face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine on the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking charge. And they face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the depredation of public lands and resources charge. 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 August 21, 2015

Drug Trafficking