Mexican National Sentenced for Toxic Marijuana Grow in Sequoia National Forest
FRESNO, Calif. — Maximiliano Farias Martinez, 49, a Mexican national, was sentenced today to five years and 10 months in prison for conspiring to cultivate marijuana on public land, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Farias supervised Jose Manuel Sanchez Zapien, 39, of Dos Palos, who delivered supplies in Farias’ vehicle to growers at a marijuana cultivation site in the Sequoia National Forest.
Law enforcement officers found approximately 20,952 marijuana plants at the site. The cultivation operation caused extensive environmental damage. Approximately three acres were stripped of vegetation and the ground was terraced to accommodate the marijuana plants.
Large amounts of ammonium nitrate and other fertilizers were found at the site. Spectracide brand insecticide containers and trash were found scattered throughout the grow site. Farias was ordered to pay $8,664 in restitution to the Forest Service to cover the clean-up cost.
Sanchez pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the Forest Service.
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Merced Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team (MAGNET). Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.
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