Third Defendant Pleads Guilty To Growing Marijuana Plants In The Shasta-Trinity National Forest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ricky Martin Huerta, 20, resident of Eureka, pleaded guilty today to manufacturing marijuana, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on May 30, 2014, aerial surveillance observed a large marijuana cultivation operation near Big French Creek on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. On August 5, 2014, authorities raided the Big French Creek site. They located an active marijuana cultivation operation and counted a total of 7,980 growing marijuana plants. Authorities observed defendant Huerta walking from the marijuana garden toward a marijuana processing area. After spotting law enforcement, Huerta ran away down a hill and was apprehended.
This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, North State Marijuana Team, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.
On January 16, 2015, co-defendants Isidro Alcazar-Tapia and Arturo Alcazar-Tapia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and to depredation of public lands and resources. Both are in custody. A fourth co-defendant, Victor Manuel Alvarez-Contreras, is at large.
Huerta is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. on May 1, 2015. Huerta faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 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.