Suspects apprehended in James Canyon marijuana grow
Three men face up to life in prison and a $10 million fine after they were arrested Wednesday in the James Canyon area above Jacks Valley in Douglas County, at the site of 4,700 marijuana plants.
The trio appeared before a federal magistrate judge and were detained in Washoe County Jail.
The announcement of the arrest was made Friday by Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini, Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley and Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada.
The suspects are to appear in magistrate court in Reno on Aug. 30.
The men were identified as Rafael Salas-Silva, 28, of Sparks; Martin Urioste-Maciel, 26, of Pasco, Wash., and Alberto Mendez-Arroyo, 23 of Reno.
The criminal complaint charges them with the manufacture of more than 1,000 marijuana plants. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Keller.
The charges are being brought as part of a federal and local law enforcement effort to combat drug trafficking and environmental damage to public lands,
On Wednesday, members of the Douglas County and Washoe County sheriff’s office, the Reno Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force and the U.S. Forest Service initiated a search of James Canyon and the James Canyon marijuana grow site with the cooperation of the Washoe Tribe.
As they entered the site, investigators saw Urioste-Maciel hiding in the James Canyon creek bed next to Mendez-Arroyo.
Salas-Silva was stopped near the site in a vehicle that contained supplies, bags of fertilizer, sleeping bags and a propane tank that was to be dropped off at the grow site.
Investigators located a fully operational marijuana grow of about 4,700 marijuana plants.
Federal agents removed the plants, preserving some for evidence.
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