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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, October 17, 2016

Merced Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Growing Marijuana in Sierra National Forest

Grow Discovered by Cameras Monitoring Mountain Lions

FRESNO, Calif. — Emmanuel Castrejon Cardenas, 36, of Merced, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill to two years in prison for conspiracy to cultivate 50 or more marijuana plants, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, individuals transporting large amounts of irrigation and other gardening equipment in the Sierra National Forest in the area of Providence Creek in Fresno County were caught on cameras set up by the U.S. Forest Service to monitor mountain lions. An investigation led agents to a large-scale, multi-plot marijuana cultivation site

On September 7, 2015, Cardenas was arrested after he delivered supplies for the clandestine marijuana cultivation site. The next day, law enforcement agents entered the site, eradicated a large number of marijuana plants, and found another individual, Apolinar Duarte, 36, who possessed a firearm. On May 16, 2016, Cardenas and Duarte pleaded guilty. Duarte was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge O’Neill on August 8, 2016.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincenza Rabenn prosecuted the case.

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
1:15 cr 251 LJO
Updated October 18, 2016