Source: US State of California
Private land marijuana cultivation resulted in death of a law enforcement officer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today charging four men with marijuana cultivation and firearms offenses in El Dorado County, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Christopher Garry Ross, 47, of Somerset; Juan Carlos Vasquez, 20, a Mexican national residing in Somerset; Ramiro Bravo Morales, 22, a Mexican national residing in Somerset; and Jorge Lamas, 25, of Yuba City, were charged with conspiring to cultivate marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. In addition, Vasquez and Morales were each charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the California Department of Justice. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office have provided key assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith, Justin L. Lee, and Shea J. Kenny are prosecuting the case.
The statutory penalty for the marijuana counts is a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence up to 40 years in prison with fines up to $5 million. The discharge of a firearm during a drug crime is a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The alien in possession of a firearm count is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.