FRESNO, Calif. — Marino Cruz Diaz, 24, of Taft, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston to 10 years in prison for illegally cultivating marijuana in a national forest and ordered to pay over $13,000 in restitution for damage to the land, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in July 2019, law enforcement officers located a clandestine marijuana grow site in Sequoia National Forest in Fresno County. On Aug. 2, 2019, officers hiked into the grow site, where they found and arrested Marino Cruz Diaz and Moreno Florez. The grow contained over 2,400 marijuana plants, chemicals, fertilizers, chicken wire, irrigation lines, and man-made dams and water reservoirs that diverted water from nearby creeks. On May 27, 2022, Cruz Diaz pleaded guilty.
On Aug. 12, 2022, Moreno Florez, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegally cultivating marijuana in a national forest and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that offense.
This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio prosecuted the case.