Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Santa Rosa man convicted of charges in 2009 marijuana case

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Officials display the marijuana seized from 11 individuals who were arrested in the Mendocino National Forest on Aug. 30, 2009. Photo courtesy of the Lake County District Attorney's Office.
 

 



LAKEPORT – On Thursday a Santa Rosa man was convicted of numerous charges related to cultivation and sale of illicit marijuana.


A Lake County Jury in Lake County Superior Court Department 3 returned guilty verdicts against Franco Banales-Pacheco for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for purpose of sale and transportation of marijuana, according to the Lake County District Attorney's Office.


Banales-Pacheco was one of 11 individuals who were arrested in the Mendocino National Forest on Aug. 30, 2009, the district attorney's office reported.


United States Forest Service law enforcement officers, assisted by Lake County Sheriff’s Office personnel, seized approximately 91 pounds of processed marijuana “bud,” 11 pounds of unprocessed marijuana and more than 10 pounds of marijuana seeds from the 11 defendants who were occupying two SUVs driving out of the Snow Mountain Wilderness Area at approximately 3:30 a.m., the report explained.


Forest Service Officer Ben Hughes noted that at the time of the arrest various law enforcement agencies had seized approximately 198,629 marijuana plants within four miles of that location that same year.


Banales-Pacheco was the last remaining defendant to be adjudicated. Two individuals were dealt with in the juvenile system, and eight adults were convicted following guilty pleas, with sentences ranging from probation with county jail to two years in state prison, according to the district attorney's office.


The evidence at trial indicated that the responsible individuals were part of a professional drug trafficking organization utilizing public lands for large scale marijuana grows, the report noted.


Banales-Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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