Kern County Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Illegally Cultivating Marijuana in the Sequoia National Forest

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

FRESNO, Calif. — David Moreno Florez, 28, of Taft, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston to 12 years in prison for illegally cultivating marijuana in a national forest and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that offense, 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 who was carrying a loaded, AR-15 style rifle. 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. Moreno Florez pleaded guilty to the charges on April 22, 2022.

On May 27, 2022, Cruz Diaz pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 19, 2022.

The case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio is prosecuting the case.

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