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Press Release

Merced Man and Mexican National Indicted for Illegally 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 three-count indictment Thursday against Genaro L. Merino, 34, of Merced, and Manuel S. Cardenas, 32, of San Luis Potosi, of Mexico, charging them with conspiring to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants, and depredation of public land and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Merino and Cardenas are accused of carrying out an illegal marijuana grow between April 14 and August 4, 2019. Approximately 1,900 plants were located at two grow sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the town of Helena.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Trinity County Sheriff. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael W. Redding is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Merino and Cardenas faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated August 30, 2019

Drug Trafficking