Orosi Men Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Cultivate Marijuana
(Press Release) U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that nine Orosi residents involved in the large-scale cultivation of marijuana on private and public lands have plead guilty to drug-related charges in United States District Court. On April 18, 2012, 51-year-old Segundo Pineda-Magadan of Orosi; and 27-year-old Arcelio Serrano-zepeda of Sanger, plead guilty to conspiring to cultivate marijuana. 26-year-old Abelino Pineda-Viveros of Orosi, plead guilty to cultivating marijuana.
Earlier this week, on Monday, April 17, 2012, 26-year-old Segundo Pineda-Viveros of Orosi; 29-year-old Rafael Pineda-Parra of Orosi; 25-year-old Daniel Pineda-Parra of Cutler; and 24-year-old Rosendo Pineda-Magadan of Orosi, all entered pleas of guilty to charges that they conspired to cultivate marijuana. Last week, 25-year-old Cesar Pineda-Magadan of Orosi; and 26-year-old Modesto Pineda-Parra entered pleas to the same offense.
The guilty pleas are the most recent product of Operation Trident, an ongoing multi-agency marijuana enforcement effort in Madera, Fresno, and Tulare Counties that commenced in 2009 and is coordinated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The defendants are scheduled for sentencing on July 9, 2012 and face maximum sentences of 40 years to life in prison. The actual sentence, 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.
According to court documents, the investigation in this case commenced in March 2010. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement eradicated approximately 38,925 marijuana plants in several different marijuana gardens on public lands including the Cleveland National Forest in Riverside, California; the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County; and the Sierra National Forest in Madera County. An additional 21,807 marijuana plants were seized from private lands in Tulare and Fresno Counties. Approximately 101 pounds of processed marijuana was seized during a vehicle stop in July 2010 as well.
Court documents indicate that the defendants were arrested on September 21, 2010 during the execution of approximately seven search warrants on residences and properties located in Orosi, Sanger, and Squaw Valley, California. As a result of those search warrants, agents seized an additional 1,666 marijuana plants, approximately 24 pounds of marijuana seeds, 348 pounds of processed marijuana, $74,300 in U.S. currency, 8 handguns, 3 rifles, and 3 shotguns.
The case is the product of an investigation of the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (CVMIT), comprised of law enforcement officers including California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE), the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen A. Servatius and Alyson Berg.