More than 16,000 marijuana plants, 1,100 pounds of processed marijuana and a .38 caliber revolver resulted in an eight year prison sentence for a 26-year-old man busted in the Sequoia National Forest.
On Monday July 8, 2013, Victor Alfonso Madrigal Cardenas, of Delano, was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison. He was also ordered to make restitution to the U.S. Forest Service in the amount of $3,686.54 to cover the cost of cleaning up his cultivation site and faces deportation to Mexico after he serves his prison term.
Special agents with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) were part of the investigation that lead to Madrigal pleading guilty. Madrigal set up shop in the Sentinel Peak area of the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County. According to documents, his cultivation operation caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources. Native vegetation was cut to make room for the grow. His camp was littered with trash and fertilizer containers, some of which was found in a flowing stream.
"This is a constant battle on state and federal land and it is a dangerous situation for law enforcement," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA represents 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California, including DOJ special agents. "This was a large-scale marijuana cultivation operation and any unsuspecting visitor to that area of the forest would have been in danger. Teamed up with federal and local officers, special agents put a stop to it."