Mendota marijuana cultivator indicted

Half a million marijuana plants, 38 weapons

FRESNO, Calif. -  

A federal grand jury in Fresno returned an indictment today charging Marcos Antonio Robles, 36, of Fresno, for his involvement in a marijuana cultivation operation in Mendota.

Robles is the 83rd defendant federally indicted in Operation Mercury. Unlike previous operations that targeted marijuana grown on public land, Operation Mercury targeted agricultural land in the counties of Merced, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Kern and Fresno.

Beginning in March 2012 to the present, 19 federal Operation Mercury defendants have been convicted and sentenced to prison. The overall operation resulted in the seizure of nearly half a million marijuana plants, 38 firearms, and $67,445.

U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “In this case, marijuana cultivation activities shifted from agricultural land in Mendota to the indoor cultivation of marijuana involving the theft of electricity.”

According to court documents, in July 2012, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies found 1,875 marijuana plants growing on a property on Whitesbridge Road in Mendota. The deputies advised the occupants that the grow was in violation of federal law and Fresno County Ordinance 11-008. In August, the DEA obtained a search warrant for the property and eradicated 959 marijuana plants. In January 2013, during a second search warrant, agents found 657 marijuana plants growing inside the residence, powered by the unlawful diversion of electricity. Robles was found during the execution of both warrants.

If convicted, Robles faces a 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and is subject to deportation.

Robles is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb.15.

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