Man suspected of growing pot at national park pleads guilty

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A man suspected of growing marijuana at a California national park has pleaded guilty.

The Fresno Bee reports 46-year-old Juan Penaloza-Ramirez of Taft pleaded guilty Monday and has agreed to pay about $10,000 to the U.S. Forest Service for damaging the Sequoia National Park, known for its large sequoia trees. His charges include conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grow.

Penaloza-Ramirez faces a five- to 40-year prison sentence and a $5 million fine.

Court documents say the Mexico native would go back to his home country to recruit people to work for him as growers, deliverymen and cultivators. Penaloza-Ramirez grew the marijuana at Fay Creek, Brush Creek and The Needles inside the national park. Officials say they seized more than 8,000 plants.

Penaloza-Ramirez's sentencing is scheduled for June 19.


Information from: The Fresno Bee,              

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