FRESNO, CA — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Ediberto Ceballos of Madera pleaded guilty today to conspiring to cultivate marijuana.
According to his plea agreement, Ceballos admitted that his offense involved 3,710 marijuana plants and that he had traveled to a marijuana cultivation site to tend to the marijuana. According to other court documents, the cultivation was on federal land in the Sierra Mountains north of Fresno.
This is the latest conviction stemming from Operation Trident, a multi-agency marijuana enforcement effort in Madera, Fresno, and Tulare Counties in 2009 and 2010 that was coordinated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Operation Trident resulted in the eradication of approximately 663,898 marijuana plants, primarily from public lands in the Sierra foothills and mountains, and the federal prosecution of 88 individuals. Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Rooney is prosecuting this case.
Ceballos is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on September 23, 2011. The maximum statutory penalty is life in prison. The actual sentence, however, 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.