A man from Ensenada, Mexico, pleaded guilty Wednesday to crimes that stemmed from when authorities found him with nearly 7,000 marijuana plants in the Sierra National Forest, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.
Juan Pedro Jimenez, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute and manufacturing, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana with a large-scale cultivation operation on Chowchilla Mountain in Mariposa County, Wagner said.
Jimenez was found at the cultivation site on public land in July, court documents said. The 6,919 marijuana plants were found at the site as well as fertilizer, trash, water lines, and propane tanks.
The cultivation caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources, Wagner said. Native trees and plants were cut down, and steep hillsides were terraced to plant the marijuana. Water was diverted from a nearby creek to irrigate the plants.
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Jimenez agreed to reimburse the U.S. Forest Service for the cost of cleaning up the site.
Jimenez is will be sentenced on Feb. 1, 2016. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, Wagner said.