On Monday, April 15, 2013, a Fresno man was sentenced to 17 and a-half years in prison for running a massive marijuana operation. Uriel Ochoa-Espindola, 44, and his ring of managers grew tens of thousands of marijuana plants in El Dorado, Tehama and Placer counties and then used commercial truckers to ship hundreds of pounds of pot to South Dakota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina.
"In addition to all that marijuana, this group had a serious cache of weapons," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "Our CSLEA members who are special agents with the California Department of Justice worked with federal and local law enforcement officers to bring down this organization of drug dealers. When you see the numbers of AK-47 and M-16/M-4 rifles that were seized in this case, you get a real sense of the danger special agents and every officer on this case was up against. "
Valentine Ramirez-Cardinez, a middle manager in the organization, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for managing the grow sites.