Mexican National Indicted For Illegal Firearm Possession And Growing Marijuana On Public Forest Land
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Enrique Gomez-Perez, 30, of Mexico, charging him with manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants, being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and depredation of public lands and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers who were conducting aerial surveillance spotted an illegal marijuana grow in the area of Upper Backbone Creek in Shasta County, on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management. Law enforcement hiked into the area where they observed Gomez-Perez watering marijuana plants. They recovered a handgun, whose serial number was filed off and unidentifiable, from Gomez-Perez, and eradicated more than 800 plants from the area. At the site, water from a nearby stream had been diverted, many trees and other vegetation were cut to make room for the marijuana plants, and large piles of trash were stuffed under boulders and buried along the stream.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and California Department of Justice North State Marijuana Investigation Team. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Spencer and Cameron Desmond are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Gomez-Perez faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $10 million fine for marijuana cultivation. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the other two counts. 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.