FRESNO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Lamont man pleaded guilty Monday to "facilitating a large marijuana cultivation operation on public land through the use of his telephone," according to federal prosecutors.
Javier Aranda-Barrajas, 32, was discovered by a California Department of Fish and Game warden last October, a couple miles from the pot farm that law enforcement officers had busted the day before in the Sentinel Peak area of the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County.
Following the bust, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count drug indictment against nine men from Delano and Lamont.
According to court documents, officers seized more than 16,205 marijuana plants, more than 850 pounds of processed marijuana, and three firearms, including an assault rifle.
Native vegetation was cut to make room for the marijuana plants. Trash and fertilizer containers were scattered throughout the site and in a nearby stream, prosecutors said.
Included in the original indictment were: Victor Alfonso Madrigal-Cardenas, 24; Jerman Madrigal, 19; Carlos Mendez-Sosa, 30; Juan Luis Quintero-Pimentel, 20; and Gauvencio Madrigal-Chavez, 60; all of Delano; and Ivan Carrillo, 29; Antonio Morales, 19; Aranda-Barajas, 32; and Aurelio Anaya-Sanchez, 36; all of Lamont.
Aranda-Barajas is set for sentencing in June. He faces a maximum prison term of four years.