The Department of Justice is serious about prosecuting marijuana growers using public lands for their gardens. Friday morning, two brothers, 25 year old Isidro Alcazar-Tapia, and 21 year old Arturo Alcazar-Tapia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and depredation of public lands and resources. Assistant US Attorney Christiaan Highsmith, who is prosecuting the case says the brothers were running two significant grow sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County.
The agents raiding the two gardens documented a large number of plants and damage to the environment.
The damage at both gardens includes toxic damage as well as water diversions.
Highsmith says the investigation is a joint effort between county and federal agencies. The grows were initially identified during aerial surveillance.
Maximum penalties for the brothers include a possible sentence of five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine for the conspiracy charge. The sentence for the manufacture of marijuana charge is up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The sentence for depredation of public lands and resources charge is up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Highsmith points out the seriousness of the crimes and consequences, and the DOJ is serious about prosecution of the these crimes.