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.
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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.