Two Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Grow over 8,000 Marijuana Plants in Shasta‑Trinity National Forest


SACRAMENTO, Calif. Aug. 7 (Punjab Mail) – Armando Vargas Garcia, 38, and Eduardo Montero Aleman, 37, both of Mexico, pleaded guilty today to their participation in a conspiracy to cultivate marijuana in Shasta-Trinity National Forest and depredation of federal lands and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, between Aug. 29, 2019, and Sept. 5, 2019, the defendants were involved in the cultivation of 8,656 marijuana plants in the Big Mountain area in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Two compound archery bows, nine arrows, and 42 rounds of hollow-point .22-caliber ammunition were discovered on the site. Officers also discovered bottles of carbofuran, a toxic pesticide banned in the United States. The defendants were arrested on September 5, 2019. Both defendants are in custody.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Trinity County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian T. Kinsella is prosecuting the case.

The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley on Oct. 22. For the conspiracy charge, they each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. For the depredation of public lands charge, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, 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.