Two men were sentenced Monday to federal prison after they were caught growing marijuana in a federal wilderness area, where they used illegal pesticides and damaged a prehistoric archaeological site northeast of Bakersfield, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill in Fresno sentenced Juan Carlos Lopez, 32, of Flagstaff, Ariz., to five years in prison and Javier Garcia-Castaneda, 38, of Michoacan, Mexico, to three years in prison. The men were also ordered to pay $11,163 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service.
The men were accused of ripping out new vegetation that had grown in after the 2000 Manter fire and planting 8,000 marijuana plants in the Domeland Wilderness, 55 miles northeast of Bakersfield in Sequoia National Forest. They also were accused of damaging a prehistoric Tubatulabal archaeological site and using illegal pesticides and toxic chemicals, which caused “extensive environmental damage,” Talbert said.