Two men face charges after a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment for a marijuana operation found in the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County.
Audencio Pineda-Gaona, 36, and Calendario Jimenez-Ramirez, who also goes by Calendario Rodriguez-Jimenez, 54, are charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana, manufacturing on federal land and damaging public land and natural resources, said acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.
The defendants and other men were found trimming marijuana buds at the Giant Sequoia National Monument, according to court documents. Agents uncovered 5,707 marijuana plants and 200 pounds of processed marijuana.
Trees and shrubs had been cut down to make room for the plants, and water had been diverted from a tributary stream of the Kern River, Talbert said. Banned pesticides and large amounts of trash were also found at the site.
Pineda-Gaona and Jimenez-Ramirez were previously ordered detained as a flight risk and danger to the community, Talbert said. Both are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Fresno. They face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count. If convicted of the environmental crime, they face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.