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Press Release

Seven-Year Prison Sentence for Shasta-Trinity National Forest Marijuana Cultivator

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Arturo Alcazar-Tapia, 22, of Eureka, was sentenced today to seven years and three months in prison and ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution for conspiring to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and for depredation of public lands and resources, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Arturo Alcazar-Tapia and his brother, Isidro Alcazar‑Tapia, 26, of Eureka, conspired to grow more than 20,000 marijuana plants at two sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County. The marijuana was packaged for distribution at a house in Eureka. On August 4, 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the defendants’ home in Eureka and found 33 pounds of processed marijuana divided into one-pound packages and more than $6,000 in cash. At a cultivation site at Big French Creek, agents located and destroyed approximately 7,980 marijuana plants and arrested co‑defendant Ricky Martin Huerta, 21, of Eureka. At a site at Hobo Gulch Road, agents located and destroyed approximately 13,642 marijuana plants. The marijuana cultivation caused significant damage to the land and natural resources of the forest that provides habitat for several threatened and endangered animal species.

At the Big French Creek site, agents observed hundreds of holes dug in the dirt containing soluble fertilizer, bags of trash, empty fertilizer bags, propane tanks, and water lines diverting water from a stream into the marijuana garden. Analysts estimate that cleaning the Big French Creek site will cost the U.S. Forest Service more than $4,000. Agents observed similar destruction at the Hobo Gulch Road site. Analysts estimate that cleaning the Hobo Gulch Road site will cost the U.S. Forest Service approximately $13,000.

All three defendants pleaded guilty in January 2015. On June 16, 2015, Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. sentenced Ricky Martin Huerta to two years and eight months in prison, and on August 7, 2015, Judge Burrell sentenced Isidro Alcazar-Tapia to 87 months in prison and ordered restitution of $17,000. A fourth defendant, Victor Manuel Alvarez‑Contreras is currently a fugitive.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, the North State Marijuana Team, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith prosecuted the case.

Updated October 23, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 2:14-cr-238 GEB