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Marijuana grower sentenced to 5 years in prison for cultivation in Sequoia National Forest

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Posted at 10:51 AM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 13:51:45-04
Abel Toledo-Villa (Toledo), 35, a native and citizen of Mexico, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to five years in prison, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. 
 
Toledo pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 3,850 marijuana plants grown in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County. When law enforcement officers searched the grow site, Toledo was found leaving the area in a vehicle that contained about 8.5 pounds of processed marijuana, fertilizer, a rifle, and 106 rounds of ammunition. 
 
At the grow site, agents found significant deforestation, large piles of trash, discarded chemical bottles, and miles of plastic irrigation lines. During the course of the offense, Toledo caused damage to public land and natural resources in the amount of $5,233. In sentencing Toledo, Judge O’Neill ordered Toledo to make restitution to the U.S. Forest Service in that amount. 
 
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Southern Tri-County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force, California Department of Justice’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Fontana Police Department, and Victorville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the case.