Two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for the marijuana grow near the Trinity Alps Wilderness reported by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office in August.
A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment Thursday against Genaro L. Merino, 34, of Merced, and Manuel S. Cardenas, 32, of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, charging them with conspiring to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants, and depredation of public land and resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Merino and Cardenas are accused of carrying out an illegal marijuana grow between April 14 and Aug. 4, 2019.
According to a U.S. Forest Service officer’s affidavit available in court documents, on April 11, 2019, law enforcement officers from the Forest Service, Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and California Fish and Wildlife Department had located a trail created off of East Fork Road in the Helena area. It was not a Forest Service trail. Later, one of the officers saw two men working on the trail suspected to be a drop point for supplies for a marijuana grow.
Surveillance equipment was installed, capturing transports of supplies over the trail on multiple dates.
On Aug. 4, officers followed the trail to a camp and from there along trails to two marijuana gardens. They arrested Merino and Cardenas, while a third suspect escaped.
Approximately 1,900 plants were located at two grow sites in the area.