Mexican National Indicted For Sequoia National Park Marijuana Cultivation Operation
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Toribio Cruz-Galvan (Cruz), 29, an undocumented alien from Michoacàn, Mexico, charging him with conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and damaging public land and natural resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Cruz was involved in the cultivation of 1,016 marijuana plants in the Yucca Mountain area of Sequoia National Park. The Yucca Mountain area is in an area generally known for its spring wildflower display. In addition to growing marijuana plants, park rangers found processed marijuana, a shotgun, ammunition for various firearms, and a digital scale. The marijuana cultivation operation caused significant damage to National Park land and natural resources. Fertilizer, rodenticide, propane tanks, and 300 pounds of trash were removed from the grow site. It is estimated that over one million gallons of water was diverted from a nearby spring to irrigate the marijuana plants.
This case is the product of an investigation by the National Park Service. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Cruz is detained as a flight risk and danger to the community and is scheduled for arraignment and plea on the indictment on December 15, 2014.
If convicted of the drug offenses, Cruz faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the environmental crime is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 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 defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.