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Press Release

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Marijuana Cultivation Operation in Sierra National Forest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. —Juan Pedro Jimenez, 39, of Ensenada, Mexico, entered a guilty plea today to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute, manufacturing, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana in connection with a large-scale cultivation operation on Chowchilla Mountain in Mariposa County in the Sierra National Forest in Mariposa County, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Jimenez was found at the cultivation site on public land in July. Agents removed 6,919 marijuana plants from the site and found fertilizer, trash, water lines, and propane tanks. The cultivation activities caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources. Native trees and plants were cut down and steep hillsides were terraced to plant the marijuana. Water was diverted from a nearby creek to irrigate the plants. In pleading guilty, Jimenez agreed to reimburse the U.S. Forest Service for the cost of cleaning up the site.

Jimenez is scheduled for sentencing on February 1, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. He faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. 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.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service and Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 18, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:15-cr-193 LJO