Mexican national guilty of marijuana cultivation

Ezequiel Armas-Ortiz, 49, of Michoacán, Mexico, plead guilty Monday to marijuana cultivation charges in connection with a large-scale cultivation operation in the Brush Creek drainage in the Sequoia National Forest.

According to court documents, Armas-Ortiz and two other men charged with him were responsible for watering 2,719 marijuana plants at the growing site. The marijuana cultivation caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources, where Armas-Ortiz agreed to make restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for the damage caused.

Armas-Ortiz is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 19. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Armas-Ortiz is also subject to deportation to Mexico after serving any prison term.

Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614