FRESNO, CA — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today charging John Simpson, 56, of Squaw Valley, with cultivating marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court records, Simpson received notice in April that marijuana cultivation was prohibited in the unincorporated areas of Fresno County and against federal law. On June 28, 2012, law enforcement executed a search warrant on the property and seized approximately 3,580 plants. At that time, Simpson told officers he would discontinue growing marijuana. On August 21, 2012, law enforcement executed a search warrant and found approximately 1,596 marijuana plants.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Simpson faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and a five-year term of supervised release. The actual sentence, if convicted, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.