A Mexican national, 28-year-old Juan Pablo Villasenor-Villa, was found convicted on five charges related to a large-scale marijuana growing operation he had in Boise, Idaho.
Federal and state authorities seized about 7,000 marijuana plants when the operation — located in the Boise National Forest — was busted in September 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). An indictment obtained by Breitbart Texas state that Villasenor-Villa and other defendants were growing marijuana since at least April 2013.
Villasenor-Villa was specifically convicted on “two counts of manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants, one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of a controlled substance, one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise and one count of causing more than $1,000 in damage to public lands.”
U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson said of the conviction in a statement, “The jury’s verdict sends a strong message that those who use and damage our public lands for unlawful purposes and those who traffic in illegal drugs will face swift and sure consequences in Idaho. The jury found that this defendant operated a criminal enterprise in the Boise National Forest and that his enterprise damaged this precious public resource.”
Prosecutors told the jury that Villasenor-Villa transported several other defendants to and from the marijuana growing operation. The Mexican national would allegedly package the marijuana and drive it to a residence in Canyon County. The jury additionally heard evidence suggesting that Villasenor-Villa instructed his wife, 22-year-old Mariah Villasenor-Rodriguez, to remove cash from their home located in Canyon County.
The wife is a co-defendant and plead guilty to possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute it, according to the DOJ. She was sentenced to 21 months behind bars followed by three years of supervised release.
Four other co-defendants were also reportedly involved in the case — they each plead guilty to various charges related to the growing operation. At least three of them were also a Mexican national.
In a statement to the DOJ, Olson implied that the arrests were aided by private citizens who noticed unusual activity. She said, “I also commend the private citizens who observed the unusual cash purchases of bulk irrigation equipment and contacted law enforcement. Marijuana grow operations such as those identified and removed in this case pose a significant danger to all in Idaho who seek to use our national forests for hiking, hunting and recreation purposes.”
Villasenor-Villa is scheduled to be sentenced on February 2, 2015.
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