Father And Son Plead Guilty In Massive Marijuana Grow Field Case
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Miguel Echevarria-Zuniga, 52, and Miguel Echevarria-Guizar, 22, have entered guilty pleas to manufacturing marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Deputy Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The charges stem from an August 2014 investigation by HSI which revealed that part of a 40-acre tract of land in a rural area of Willacy County was being used to grow marijuana. Agents discovered more than 9,000 marijuana plants growing in the field.
Agents arrested the Echevarrias, both Mexican citizens, as they attempted to abscond from the area. Fingerprint analysis linked both defendants to items found in the marijuana field. Agents also searched a storage shed which was rented by Echevarria-Zuniga and found sales receipts for items found in the marijuana field.
“Regardless of their role in a drug trafficking organization, this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated,” said Dawson. “HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to dismantle criminal organizations who blatantly ignore the laws of this nation.
U.S. District Andrew S. Hanen accepted the pleas today and has set sentencing for July 6, 2015. At that time, they each face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison as well as a $10 million fine. Echevarria-Zuniga also pleaded guilty to being an alien found in the United States after having been deported. He faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment as well as a $250,000 fine for that conviction.
This case was investigated by HSI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Israel Cano III and David A. Coronado.