Manuel S. Cardenas, 34, of San Louis Potosi, Mexico, pleaded guilty Thursday, March 18, to conspiring to cultivate marijuana on public lands and depredation of public lands, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.  

According to court documents, between April 14 and Aug. 4, 2019, Cardenas grew marijuana at two sites in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Helena.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael W. Redding is prosecuting the case.

Cardenas is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

Cardenas faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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