Four men, two of which are Mexican nationals, were sentenced on Monday for conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County.
Alfredo Cardenas- Suastegui, 57, was ordered to pay $5,233 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for the damage to public land and natural resources.
Cardenas pleaded guilty on October 2, 2017 and according to that plea agreement, he tended to 3,850 marijuana plants for four months.
Co-defendants Sair Maldonado- Soto, 22 and Coral Herrera, 21, both from Perris, Calif. supplied materials and equipment to two grow sites.
Both sites had a total of 10,396 marijuana plants. Maldonado- Soto and Herrera helped Abel Toledo- Villa, 35, who is also from Mexico, flee from one of the grow sites after it was raided.
A rifle, ammunition and marijuana were seized from the vehicle occupied by the four defendants as it drove away from the site.
The cultivation operation at both sites caused a lot of damage to the land and natural resources of the forest. Toxic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as miles of plastic irrigation lines and large amounts of garbage were found.
Maldonado- Soto was sentenced to three years and four months in prison. Herrera was sentenced to five years of probation. Toledo-Villa was sentenced to five years in prison.