BIG BAR, Calif. - Two men were charged for allegedly growing over 8,000 marijuana plants in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.
A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment on Thursday, against 37-year-old Armando Vargas Garcia, of Mexico, and 37-year-old Eduardo Montero Aleman, of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, charging them with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, marijuana cultivation in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and depredation of federal lands and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, the two men were involved in the cultivation of 8,656 marijuana plants in the Big Mountain area in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, according to court documents.
Two compound archery bows, nine arrows, and 42 rounds of hollow-point .22-caliber ammunition were discovered on the site. Officers also discovered bottles of carbofuran, a toxic pesticide, which is banned in the United States.
The defendants were arrested on Sept. 5. Both defendants are in custody, according to authorities.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian T. Kinsella is prosecuting the case. If convicted of either of the marijuana charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
If convicted of damaging public lands, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.