FRESNO — U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said that U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Ramon Torres-Arreola, aka Ramon Torrez, aka Alejandro Torres-Arida, 39, formerly of Livingston, to 27 months in prison for conspiring to grow, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. He is subject to deportation after his sentence.
According to court documents, in 2010, Torres-Arreola conspired with Juan Garcia-Galvez, aka Juan Galviz Garcia, 38, of Merced; Praxedis Barragan, 40, of Winton; and others to grow 3,451 marijuana plants on private ranchland in the Bailey Flats area of Raymond in Madera County.
According to court documents, the same area has been the site of other marijuana cultivation operations in the past. In 2009, law enforcement officers eradicated 1,228 marijuana plants and, in 2011, they eradicated 3,847 marijuana plants from there.
Garcia-Galvez and Barragan pleaded guilty and will be sentenced by Judge O’Neill on April 16.
This case is the product of an investigation conducted under the umbrella of Operation Trident by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations, Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team and Madera SWAT team.
Operation Trident was a multi-agency marijuana enforcement effort in Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties in 2009 and 2010. To date, 74 defendants have been convicted in federal court as a result of Operation Trident, which succeeded in eradicating nearly 664,000 marijuana plants mainly from public lands in the Sierra Nevada mountains and foothills in the Eastern District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.