News Release
Date: April 25, 2012
Contact: Mia Ro, PIO
Number: 954-660-4602

Lakeland, Florida Man Convicted in Marijuana Growing Conspiracy

APR 25 – (Orlando, FL) - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, and Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that a federal jury found Raul Gonzalez, 48, of Lakeland, Florida, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and manufacture marijuana. Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12, 2012, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

According to evidence presented at trial, Gonzalez was a part of an organization that operated several marijuana cultivation operations throughout central and northern Florida. Gonzalez's primary role was to sell the harvested marijuana on the street. On December 9, 2011, agents executed a search warrant at a residence located in Alachua, Florida. During the search, agents located two large marijuana cultivating areas inside the residence and the garage. A third cultivating area was discovered inside a semi-trailer in the back yard. The search resulted in the seizure of approximately 95 full-grown marijuana plants, and approximately 160 "seedling" plants.

Incident to the search, Gonzalez and Gilberto Mendez-Hernandez, who were both present at the residence, were arrested. Mendez-Hernandez pled guilty on April 19, 2012, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12, 2012.

This case was investigated by the DEA, Orlando District Office.