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Source: US State of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Fernando Daniel Velez Ruvalcaba, 35, of Jalisco, Mexico, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for being an alien in possession of a firearm, which was found to have been used in connection with marijuana cultivation in the Sequoia National Forest, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers found Velez, an illegal alien who had previously been removed from the United States in 2012 and 2013, in a vehicle in the vicinity of a marijuana cultivation site in the Sequoia National Forest apparently waiting for suspects who fled from the site when it was raided. He was in possession of a loaded handgun that he had bought on the street for $600.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and was part of Operation Forest Watch, an enforcement effort targeting marijuana cultivation operations on public land and the damage they cause. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the case.