Mexican National Pleads Guilty To Growing 3,724 Marijuana Plants In The Plumas National Forest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Alejandro Soto-Silva, 22, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty today to cultivation of marijuana and depredation of public lands and resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on July 30, 2014, United States Forest Service agents and Plumas County Sheriff’s deputies entered a large marijuana cultivation site on the Plumas National Forest near the Soda Creek drainage. Officers located more than 3,700 marijuana plants at the site. Soto-Silva was arrested after attempting to flee. The marijuana cultivation caused significant damage to the land and natural resources of the Plumas National Forest. Law enforcement observed irrigation piping running from a water source to man-made reservoirs used to water the thousands of marijuana plants under cultivation. Rehabilitating and remediating the National Forest habitat injured by the marijuana cultivation will cost the U.S. Forest Service at least $9,500.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service and the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.
Soto-Silva is in custody. He is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on April 15, 2015. Soto-Silva faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the marijuana cultivation charge. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years and a $250,000 fine on the depredation of public lands and resources charge. The actual sentence, however, will 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.