A man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for helping to grow 15,204 marijuana plants in the Nobe Young Creek area of the Sequoia National Forest.
Jose Diego Contreras-Ramirez, 26, of Mazatlan, Mexico, was sentenced for the charge of conspiring to cultivate, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grown on public land, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice Eastern District of California. In addition to the prison sentence, Contreras-Ramirez was ordered to pay the U.S. Forest Service $1,763 to clean up the site. He is subject to deportation to Mexico when he completes his prison term.
In growing the marijuana, native vegetation was destroyed to make room for the plants, according to the news release. Law enforcement officials found trash, fertilizer and insecticide containers throughout the grow site. They also found an assault rifle, 50,640 marijuana seeds, ammunition and a digital scale. Contreras-Ramirez was armed with a loaded 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol when officers found him.