FRESNO — U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Juan Chavez Martinez, 34, of Dinuba, to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to cultivate marijuana.
According to his guilty plea, Chavez Martinez admitted that between April and July 2010, he and his fellow conspirators established two marijuana grow sites, one at Soaproot Saddle and the second at Ross Crossing, both on federal land in Fresno County. According to court documents, around 12,942 marijuana plants are attributable to Chavez Martinez. A July 26, 2010, search of his residence revealed two bags with 467 and 318 grams of processed marijuana in the bedroom and three socks with 1,578, 431 and 306 grams of marijuana seeds in the attic. In a 2005 Fresno County Superior Court case, Chavez Martinez was convicted of the sale of marijuana.
This case was the product of Operation Trident, a multiagency marijuana enforcement effort in Madera, Fresno, and Tulare counties in 2009 and 2010. Operation Trident resulted in the eradication of about 663,898 marijuana plants, mainly from public lands in the Sierra foothills and mountains, and the federal prosecution of 86 people. Assistant U.S Attorney Kevin Rooney prosecuted this case.--Sun-Star staff