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2 arrested in Sequoia National Forest pot bust

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 19:01:18-04

Two Kern County residents, Juan Penaloza-Ramirez, 44, of Taft, California and Russell Lee Riggs, 67 of Weldon have been indicted on seven charges for growing marijuana in Sequoia National Forest. 

According to court documents, it is alleged that Penaloza and Riggs were supplying material, equipment, and personnel to a cultivation site at Fay Creek drainage, which consisted of over 3,000 marijuana plants, and were also responsible for transporting processed marijuana away from the grow site.

Plus, it's alleged that the growing operation caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources. Penaloza is also charged on another count of being an illegal alien who possesses a firearm. 

Fay Creek supports a variety of ecosystems and resources.

In addition, the creek serves as the primary drinking water source for many wildlife in the area. Many springs were dammed and diverted to irrigate the marijuana plants as large amounts were scattered throughout the stream. 

Penazola and Riggs are detained and are ordered to appear in federal court September 28 in Fresno.