Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Marijuana trafficker with El Dorado County grow gets 17 1/2 years

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From page A1 | April 17, 2013 | 10 Comments

A marijuana trafficker with grows in multiple counties was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison Monday.

Uriel Ochoa-Espindola, 44, of Fresno, was the leader of a massive marijuana manufacturing operation and an interstate drug distribution ring, a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. He and his partners grew tens of thousands of plants in El Dorado County, Tehama County and Placer County and were based near Delhi. The product was shipped with the aid of commercial truckers.

Hundreds of pounds of marijuana were shipped to South Dakota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina, personally overseen by Espindola, who was also in charge of 10 other men. Espindola “made key decisions, assigned jobs and organized deals,” the press release stated.

U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb said that the man ran a “very serious operation,” citing his leadership role on impact of the sentencing.

Three handguns and nearly 11,000 marijuana plants were seized from El Dorado County. A Placer County site saw 17,500 plants seized and 2,000 plants were seized in Tehama County.

Due to the size of the operation, “middle managers” were used. One, Valentine Ramirez-Cardinez, was sentenced to 15 years, 8 months in prison for managing grow sites.” He told undercover agents that he would bring a .22 caliber rifle to the Placer County grow site. Five other firearms were found at his house when he was arrested, and he earlier provided an undercover officer with an AK-47, which the officer was supposed to pay for later.

“These middle managers helped protect and isolate Espindola from possible law enforcement contact,” the press release states.

After 300 pounds of marijuana was seized in Chicago, Epsindola put Ramirez-Cardinez in charge in an attempt to separate himself from undercover agents.

Court documents call Espindola “one of the largest marijuana traffickers in Northern California.” A shotgun was found at his home.

During testimony at an evidentiary hearing, a special agent with the Department of Justice said that three handguns, three AK-47 rifles, two M-16/M-4 rifles, four shotguns and one rifle had also been found at an address on Rowland Lane in Corning. One of Espindola’s lieutenants would load a truck in connection with one of the cross-country shipments at the residence.

“This was his operation,” Shubb said of Espindola, despite the defense’s claim to the contrary. The judge held Espindola accountable for all the weapons he and his workers used in furthering their operation.

The investigation of the case was done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team. The court case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith.

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Discussion | 10 comments

  • EvelynMay 05, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    The next time there's a pot bust, think of THIS: "The medical cartel: too big to fail, too evil to expose"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EvelynMay 05, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    Anyone taking warfarin, dabigatran, levofloxacin, carboplatin, or lisinopril? These are the five leading killer drugs according to the FDA database.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 05, 2013 - 1:20 pm

    lisinopril...um Evelyn I take this for blood pressure...should I contact my doctor to growl?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EvelynMay 05, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    Fran: Don't know. I only reported information from the FDA's website. I take no medications and never before had heard of lisinopril.

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  • Phil VeerkampMay 05, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    IT'A not the substance. It's the dose. . . . LINK - WARFARIN - It was initially introduced in 1948 as a pesticide against rats and mice and is still used for this purpose, . . . Warfarin is nothing new to the FDA. It was killing rats when we were children. It was "poison" then, and in improper doses it is poison now. If you have a blood disorder of "clotting" you can choose to refuse a proper dose of warfarin in the belief that it is "poison" and accept a death by stroke happy in knowing that you were not a victim of the FDA's insidious conspiracies, plots and agendas.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EvelynMay 05, 2013 - 1:59 pm

    Conspiracy? (The "conspiracy" would disappear if FDA info weren't reported?) A 2012 article in the British Medical Journal is titled "Anticoagulants cause the most serious adverse events, finds US analysis". ********** Patients should be provided with information necessary for making informed decisions. PERIOD.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EvelynMay 05, 2013 - 2:07 pm

    "Nature offers safe and effective blood thinning alternatives to mainstream drugs" - HERE (For my brother, WARFARIN - high doses! For me: cayenne pepper & vitamin C)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil VeerkampMay 05, 2013 - 3:23 pm

    LINK - Thabo Mbeki's Holistic approach to AIDS . . . Mbeki screwed the FDA for sure and those greedy drug makers too.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EvelynMay 07, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    Fran: A (delayed) continuation of earlier discussion HERE. "How To Clean Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit"

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 07, 2013 - 5:57 pm

    Thanks Evelyn--they tested my arteries--they seem to be okay. I have high blood pressure. Actually I may have been doing to much--and when my doctor saw me--has set up an appointment for thurs for blood and a physical for the end of may--i will ask about the drug. Top five killers--nice. I love that particular fruit.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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