A man who cultivated marijuana plants in the Sierra National Forest has pleaded guilty, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Jose Antonio Reyna-Chavez, 19, of Mexico, pleaded guilty for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
Reyna also pleaded guilty for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, Wagner said.
Reyna was involved in the cultivation of 1,539 marijuana plants in the Blue Canyon area of the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County, Wagner said.
The cultivation operation was within three miles of a public campground and about seven miles from Shaver Lake.
At the site, law enforcement officers found marijuana plants, processed marijuana, a digital scale, an AK-47 style assault rifle with a loaded high-capacity magazine, and a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun.
The marijuana cultivation operation also caused significant damage to the land and natural resources of the forest, Wagner said.
Reyna agreed to pay $10,000 to the U.S. Forest Service to compensate for the cleanup costs.
He faces 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for the drug conspiracy, and a mandatory minimum consecutive five-year term up to life in prison for the gun charge.