Drug Enforcement Administration

St. Louis

William J. Callahan, Special Agent in Charge

May 26, 2020

Contact: Andree Swanson

Phone Number: (571) 362-5149

Mexican National pleads guilty to $10 million marijuana grow operation in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Mexican national pled guilty in federal court today to his role in a Daviess County, Missouri, marijuana-growing operation where law enforcement officers seized nearly $10 million worth of plants.

Miguel Pulido-Maldonado, also known as “Mona,” 28, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with the intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants, and one count of illegally reentering the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division investigated the case with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Northwest Missouri Drug Task Force, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Daviess County, Missouri Sheriff’s Department, the Grundy County Missouri Sheriff’s Department, the Buchanan County, Missouri Sheriff’s Department, the Livingston County, Missouri Sheriff’s Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The owners of the three real estate tracts that comprise the property in Daviess County live in California. Law enforcement officers, who had been keeping the marijuana grow site under surveillance, executed a search warrant at the property on August 27, 2018. The plants were in a clearing inside a large area of timber. A distinct path led from a building in the wooded area to the area containing the marijuana plants.

Officers located approximately 2,464 cultivated marijuana plants. With an approximate street value of $1,800 per pound of marijuana, this results in approximately $9,757,440 in marijuana plants seized. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Pulido-Maldonado must forfeit that amount to the government as illegal drug-trafficking proceeds. The Daviess County property must also be forfeited to the government.

Pulido-Maldonado, who ran into the woods to escape custody, was arrested on August 30, 2018; he was covered in mud, his arms had numerous bites from either mosquitos or other insects and it appeared he had been outside for several days. Pulido-Maldonado had previously illegally entered the United States and was removed on January 30, 2017.

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