An illegal marijuana grower no longer will be free to destroy the Sequoia National Forest.
David Moreno Florez, 28, of Taft, received a 12-year sentence on Friday from U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston in a Fresno courtroom.
Florez’s sentence followed his guilty pleas in April to illegally growing marijuana and using an AR-15-style rifle to protect the Fresno County mountain site.
2,400 Plants, Man-Made Dams
According to court documents, the grow contained more than 2,400 marijuana plants along with chemicals, fertilizers, and man-made dams that diverted water from nearby creeks
The officers who hiked into the site in August 2019 also arrested Marino Cruz Diaz, who has pleaded guilty to charges related to the grow. He is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 19.
The U.S. Forest Service investigated the case. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio.