December 12, 2011
Contact: Casey Rettig
Phone Number: (415) 436-7900
Madera County Marijuana Cultivator Sentenced
FRESNO, CA - Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Saul Pacheco Panuco, 31, formerly of Livingston, was sentenced today to three years and 10 months in prison for conspiring to manufacture, to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. Pacheco is a native and citizen of Mexico and is subject to deportation upon completion of his prison term.
Pacheco pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on August 1, 2011. In his plea agreement, Pacheco acknowledged that he was arrested on April 13, 2010, in connection with a large-scale marijuana cultivation operation in Madera County near Little River Ranch Road in Ahwahnee. Approximately 12,586 marijuana plants were seized.
This case was the product of an investigation conducted under the umbrella of Operation Trident by the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement (MADNET). Operation Trident was a multi-agency marijuana enforcement effort in Madera, Fresno, and Tulare Counties in 2009 and 2010, which resulted in 86 federal prosecutions and the eradication of approximately 663,898 marijuana plants primarily from public lands in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills in the Eastern District of California. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.