News Release
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Madera County Marijuana Cultivator Indicted

APR 30 -- FRESNO, Calif. – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Fresno returned an indictment against Saul Pacheco Panuco, 30, of Livingston, charging him with conspiring to manufacture, to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, and unlawfully entering the United States.

This case is the product of an investigation conducted by the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team (MADNET), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Law enforcement agents arrested Pacheco on April 13, 2010 in connection with a large-scale marijuana cultivation operation in the Madera County area of Little River Ranch Road in Ahwahnee. More than 12,000 marijuana plants were seized.

Pacheco is scheduled to appear on May 3, 2010, for arraignment and plea on the indictment.

If convicted of the drug violations alone, Pacheco faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years, a maximum term of life, and a fine of $4 million per count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing 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.

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