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Press Release

Two Visalia Residents Indicted for Growing Marijuana in the Sierra National Forest in Madera County

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

FRESNO, Calif. — On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Hector Manuel Gomez Rodriguez, 45, of Visalia, and Mucio Alejandro Gomez Rodriguez, 46, of Visalia, charging them with manufacture of marijuana, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, and depredation of public lands and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, in early June, officers located a clandestine marijuana grow site on U.S. Forest Service land east of North Fork in the Sierra National Forest in Madera County. On July 16, 2019, USFS officers and other law enforcement personnel hiked into the grow site and apprehended the defendants as they tried to flee. Officers found 4,494 live marijuana plants, a .45-caliber handgun, and a pellet gun in the cultivation site.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting). Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Schuh is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated July 26, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:19-cr-00161-DAD