News Release
August 13, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Marijuana Cultivator Sentenced to 75 Months in Prison
National Forest Land Left with Substantial Damage

AUG 13 -- (Seattle) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, James A. McDevitt, announced that Moyses Mesas-Barajas, 43, was sentenced on August 4, 2009, to 75 months in prison for conspiracy to manufacture more than 1,000 marijuana plants and destruction of government property valued over $1,000. Mesas-Barajas, a citizen of Mexico, was ordered to pay $7,356.61 in restitution.

In the summer of 2008, federal and state law enforcement officers located a group of marijuana gardens in a remote area of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forest. Officers observed a number of campsites with tents and other temporary structures near the gardens. A network of trails connected the camps and individuals wearing camouflage clothing tended the gardens. On August 26, 2008, law enforcement officers served a search warrant at the campsites resulting in the seizure of 10,231 marijuana plants. Officers also found empty containers of fertilizer, pesticides, and rat poison.

The marijuana gardens and campsites caused substantial environment damage to the forest land. The mountain slopes were terraced, streams were re-routed and a large amount of fertilizer, pesticide and trash were introduced to the environment. The U.S Forest Service spent $12,906.22 to clean up the entire area.

This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S Forest Service, North Central Washington Narcotics Task Force, Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Twisp Police Department, Winthrop Marshal’s Office, North Central Washington Special Response Team, U.S Border Patrol, Washington National Guard, and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.