Two Mexican Nationals Sentenced for Growing Marijuana on National Forest Land
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced sentences in two unrelated cases involving growing marijuana in national forests. In addition to the marijuana charges, both defendants were sentenced for depredation of federal property. Not only are the marijuana grow sites an illegal trespass, they cause significant environmental damage, through the use of harmful – and often banned – pesticides, as well as harm to natural rivers and streams, which the site’s operators divert to irrigate the marijuana crops.
In the first case, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced Sebastian Martinez Arreola, 20, of Michoacán, Mexico, to 20 months in prison for manufacturing marijuana, conspiring to do the same, and depredation of federal property. According to court documents, Martinez Arreola and others were arrested by law enforcement on August 7, 2017, following a search of a marijuana-cultivation site in the Limedyke Mountain area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County. At the site, they found approximately 2,500 marijuana plants and a .45‑caliber Ruger handgun.
This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the North State Marijuana Investigation Team. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Bender is prosecuting the case.
In the second case, Judge Mueller sentenced Pedro Sanchez Muniz, 39, native of Mexico, to two years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, as well as depredation of federal property. According to court documents, Sanchez Muniz was arrested by law enforcement officers at a marijuana cultivation site growing approximately 1,500 plants on the Mendocino National Forest in Tehama County. He was found tending to marijuana plants at the site.
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 & Wildlife, and Tehama County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conolly prosecuted the case.