Mexican National Sentenced for Marijuana Cultivation in Giant Sequoia National Monument
FRESNO, Calif. — Rosario Beltran-Leal, aka Jose Luis Aguilar, aka Dagoberto Suarez (Beltran), 44, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced today to four years and nine months in prison for conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana in the Giant Sequoia National Monument in Tulare County in the Sequoia National Forest, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, on April 28, 2018, Beltran was found bringing over 31,000 marijuana seeds to a cultivation site in a remote area closed to the public in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. He was also in possession of a large quantity of food and cultivation supplies, including 100 hose connectors. In pleading guilty, Beltran acknowledged that he had delivered food supplies to marijuana growers in the same area in 2016. The irrigation system from the previous year was intact. Native vegetation and trees had also been trimmed to make room for the marijuana plants and water had been diverted from a tributary of Mill Creek.
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the case.