Drug charges net 10 years for Gustine man

A 55-year-old Gustine man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Monday after being convicted of cultivating marijuana, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Heriberto Sicairos-Quintero was arrested July 13 after federal and state officials found him near a marijuana growing site in the Shaver Lake and Jose Basin area of the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County. The site had more than 7,000 marijuana plants.

Federal prosecutors said Sicairos-Quintero had a loaded handgun and said he had been paid to cook at the site for 30 days.

Officials also found firearms, cultivating materials, fertilizers, irrigation hoses and trash that had to be airlifted out.

On Dec. 11, a jury convicted Sicairos-Quintero of manufacturing marijuana, aiding and abetting the manufacture of marijuana, and carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.