Plea in Hogback marijuana grow case


hogbackgrowFRESNO, Calif. — Javier Rios Morales, 25, of Jalisco, Mexico, pleaded guilty today to

conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 3,405 marijuana

plants and 350 pounds of processed marijuana seized from a grow site in Inyo National

Forest, announced United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

According to court documents, U.S. Forest Service agents found a marijuana

cultivation operation in the Hogback Creek area of the Inyo National Forest. They set up

trail cameras and photographed Rios making supply drops at a drop point to the site. Rios

also picked up processed marijuana from the site. One of the load vehicles was tracked to

several stash houses in Riverside County. Ultimately, agents executed four search warrants

at the grow site and three residences in Riverside County.

Agents seized 3,405 marijuana plants, 350 pounds of processed marijuana, digital

scales, highly toxic and illegal rodenticides, and 2,200 pounds of trash from the Hogback

Creek grow site. In pleading guilty, Rios agreed to pay $6,572.14 to the U.S. Forest Service

for removal and dumping fees associated with eradication of the site. Agents in Riverside

County seized two pounds of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine laboratory, five

firearms, $10,000 in cash, and two pounds of marijuana from a residence in Moreno Valley.

Agents seized another 450 marijuana plants and marijuana cultivation at a stash house in

Homeland. At another stash house in Romoland, they seized a firearm, marijuana shake and

residue, and shipping labels consistent with the shipment of marijuana to Chicago.

Rios is scheduled for sentencing on April 14, 2014, by United States District Judge

Lawrence J. O’Neill. He faces a sentence of five years to 40 years in prison and a $5 million

fine. He is also subject to deportation to Mexico, upon completion of any prison term. 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.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S.

Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE)

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, and Riverside County

Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escob


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38 Responses to Plea in Hogback marijuana grow case

  1. Rick OBrien January 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Trail cam’s to catch dopers…what an awesome idea, since the good guys can’t be everywhere at once. Sounds like pretty good police work.

    • Desert Tortoise January 23, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      Photographing the wild life. Thumbs up.

  2. sugar magnolia January 22, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    hopefully, legal medical marijuana and legal marijuana in a few states will erode the demand for this type of operation that benefits no-one. I’m sure this guy is taking the fall for the big guys but you gotta do what you gotta do. Lock em up.

  3. Trouble January 23, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    A strong message should be sent to all backpackers, bring your own.

  4. Wayne Deja January 23, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    sugar magnolia….If anything,when marijuana is legalized,these types of incidents will increase….not decrease or end.Just like in Colorado,if you can buy an eighth of good weed for $ 40.00 off the street your a fool to pay $ 80.00 for the same ammount all taxed-up in one of the stores that are selling it.The people selling now are hoping that people here in California vote to legalize it…..including the big sellers and cartels.For those, other than the sellers,hoping for legal marijuana use,it’s not because of easier access….it’s because they will want to purchase and get high with no fear of getting in legal trouble for doing it….and then pushing the buttons on it,thinking it will be O.K. to drive and transport with it…..grow it and sell it,making $$$$ without having to work a 9 to 5 job…and if they do have a 9 to 5 job,thinking able to get high while working with little or nothing an employer can do about it…just like one poster said on another marijuana story on SW….how Law Enforcement will be “forced to” and “have to” hire a known marijuana user…and if they don’t … come the law suits,again trying to push the buttons and saying no different than popping a couple aspirin in the morning…before heading out in the squad car,big rig, doctors office,or to the school teaching our children.I’m thinking,come November,recreational marijuana use will happen in California…..but just like with the medical marijuana prop a few years ago,and what a sham that turned out to be,read the fine print before you vote yes….be careful what you wish for…again…..we’ll see…….

    • Benett Kessler January 23, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      If marijuana were not considered a Class 1 drug, actual research could be done and a better understanding of potential medicinal value known as well as
      impacts on humans. BK

    • TBone January 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Wayne, once again you launch into a long-winded diatribe against one of the least harmful drugs on the planet, short on facts, heavy on your emotional baggage regarding the substance. Legalizing marijuana does NOT entitle anyone to a job, or the right to drive while intoxicated. The laws place limits on the amount you can carry, the sales of the substance, and myriad of other details that you seem to ignore in your effort to sensationalize your frequent posts. Facts are important, Wayne.

      • Wayne Deja January 23, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

        TBone……I agree with you….legal weed won’t force employers to hire pot-heads…..or give anyone the right to drive while stoned…but that won’t mean some won’t do it….or try to get away with doing it…just like now already…..where it is still illegal to sell and transport…and for the few that DON’T have one of those med cards,illegal to possess…..but once someone gets stopped and arrested,and their vehicle put in impound,here come the hoards of people defending them….saying it’s “their right” to do as they please….how Law Enforcement is way out of line using the drug dog….searching the vehicle,finding,and making an arrest….how it’s a waste of resources…When and if it is voted legal in November,it will just be a way for some to think their “hobby” is bullet-proof to anytype of enforcement.

    • Green Mammoth January 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      “grow it and sell it,making $$$$ without having to work a 9 to 5 job…”


      I’m working 9-7, 10 hours a day, 5 days a week..
      I got approved by the PD, got the permits form the town, and I created JOBS.

      and from Feb 13/2013 – TO DATE We’ve took over $340,000.00 off the streets

      We’ve paid $25,734.60 in CA Sales Tax.

      We’ve paid $4,110.21 To CA Employment Development Department.

      We’ve paid $16,009.96 In Federal Employment Taxes.

      And We’ve created JOBS.

      Your ignorance is bliss.

      • Wayne Deja January 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

        ….and when it becomes legal,probably next year,we’ll see how your profits are gonna do when the “streets” beat your prices by close to 40 %…..the streets will be “tooken” it back !!….the “streets” say $40.00 an eighth…..what say you ?

        • Pedro January 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

          Or we could be smart like Uruguay and set a price less than street prices to undercut black market, and not let the government use drug taxes as another Ponzi scheme to fund their mismanagement. Create a market price low enough and individuals might grow for personal use, but not for profiteering.

        • Green Mammoth January 24, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

          We’re a Nonprofit so I’m not worried about what our “profits are gonna do”.

          we have lower prices then the “Streets” now, and we will continue to when the “walls come crashing down.”

          Thanks for the support.

        • I Love To Fish January 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

          40 %…..the streets will be “tooken” it back !!….the “streets” say $40.00 an eighth

          Your not a big math guy are you? I’m guessing your not big on facts neither…

          FACT: Colorado’s Adult MMJ tax is 25%

          $40.00 eight + tax is only $50.00 MATH doesn’t lie… FACT.

          • Wayne Deja January 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

            I love to fish(I love to fish too)….I’m not a big math guy…and I’m not one to be hanging around in front of one of those med-pot shops making deals with the “patients” going into the store,what I was saying was $ 40.00/eighth ON THE STREETS…..and from what I’ve heard,MUCH more than that at the “clinics”…and from what’s being said in Colorado,already a bunch of complaining about the prices with the taxes….something like $65.00+ for an eighth there…Let’s face it…if pot becomes legal,the medical pot shops are done for….there’s not a person,myself included,that couldn’t grab two twenty dollar bills at 7 P.M. tonight,walk out of my house,and in less than a half hour be lighting up the bong with an eighth of high-grade weed.

          • I Love To Fish January 25, 2014 at 11:42 am #

            So what about your “$40.00 eight ON THE STREETS,”

            16 Oz in a lb. 8, Eight in a Oz, 8 eights x $30.00 = 240 Oz x 16 = 3200 a Lb.
            Farmers haven’t got 3200 for a lb in 15 Years. unless your that stupid to pay that price

            Most lb’s are sold for 1200 – 2400, and at that price I can easily see eights selling at $20 + tax and $20.00 + 25% tax is $25.00 still cheaper then ON THE STREETS.

  5. Desert Tortoise January 23, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    A marijuana shake ??? Yuck!

  6. Michael D. January 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    “grow it and sell it,making $$$$ without having to work a 9 to 5 job”

    God forbid someone make money without a 9-5 job. Based on the frequency of your posts, wayne, I’m guessing you simply don’t have a job.

  7. Wayne Deja January 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Michael….FYI,I’ve got three part-time jobs….and a fourth come March 30……and I’m betting more hours and harder work than you do… and judging from your statement of despising those (most Americans)that ,God forbid,”have” to hold a 9 to 5 job,I’m guessing your one of those,that we all see and know of,that get up late,tinker around, doing whatever,while your wife or girlfriend is the one out there doing the 9 to 5 supporting the household,doing odd jobs,bringing in most of the $$$…and on top of that,probably charging her rent to live there where your at……how bout that?… do I got it right ?

    • Benett Kessler January 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      Dear all, enough with the disparaging remarks.

    • sugar magnolia January 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      I’ve been in the working world for 25 years now…I’ve never seen a 9 – 5 job. Office jobs have started at 8:00 or earlier and typically go to five the whole time I’ve been in the workforce. Not sure where this 9-5 stuff comes from, but not the working world on the west coast…New York maybe?

  8. Pedro January 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    Wayne, you implying cops will use a substance before coming to work because it’s legal? Drinking may explain some of local LEO behavior come to think of it. Wild uturns, tailgating, spotlighting naked bathers…

    • Wayne Deja January 24, 2014 at 7:01 am #

      Pedro…I’m not implying LE will come on shift high on pot…What I’m saying is some will sign up to try to be a Sheriff or Policeman,and if not accepted or flunking a drug test,they’ll try to sue the County or State….saying it was because of the failed test…and hoping for a BIG payday with as little work possible done to be getting it.

      • Pedro January 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

        Don’t see it, Wayne. You test dirty for alcohol now on pre–employment and you have no case. Until better cannabis tests are developed to tell if you are actually under influence at time you can expect laws to be too extreme the other way, as they are in Colorado where any amount detected can be used against you, even if you’re not high at the time. This could be a big problem for legitimate medical users, who might medicate when they get home from work and drive to work the next morning sober.

      • I Love To Fish January 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        States that are opening up to new medical marijuana laws are,

        A bill introduced Jan. 14 by state Rep. Sherry Jones, The Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act would legalize marijuana for a wide range of medical conditions and would prohibit schools, employers and landlords from discriminating against medical cannabis users.

        New Hampshire
        On Jan. 15, the New Hampshire House of Representatives became the first U.S. legislative body to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The proposed law would let adults over age 21 legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.

        Democratic lawmakers in Maryland launched an effort on Jan. 16 to legalize up to an ounce of weed and the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for adults over age 21, even for recreational purposes. This Marijuana Control Act of 2014 would regulate and tax sales of cannabis in Maryland and even require law enforcement agencies to wipe clean the criminal records of many past marijuana offenders.

        West Virginia
        A bill introduced Thursday 1/23/14 in West Virginia aims to set up a medical marijuana program that would include state-regulated cultivation facilities and dispensaries. People suffering from a variety of ailments including cancer, glaucoma and Crohn’s disease would be permitted to possess up to six ounces of weed as well as 12 flowering plants, as long as they have written permission from their doctor.

        Alabama could become the first Southern state to legalize a medicine derived from marijuana if HB 104 (aka Carly’s Law) passes. The bill would legalize cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, to treat certain medical conditions like chronic pain, seizures, severe nausea or “any other condition that is severe and resistant to conventional medicine.” The bill has bipartisan support, and Alabama’s governor has suggested he would be open to such a law.

        After an emotional visit last week with a 4-year-old girl whose severe seizure disorder landed her in an Atlanta hospital, a Republican lawmaker in Georgia spoke out saying he would soon be unveiling a new bill to legalize cannabidiol in the state. Rep. Allen Peake’s bill will be limited in scope, allowing only for cannabidiol to treat seizure disorders. Still, advocates say it’s an important step forward in repealing marijuana prohibition.

        On Friday, 1/24/14 the website of the Florida Division of Elections showed that a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical weed in Florida had 710,508 verified signatures — over 27,000 more than the 683,149 required.

        These aren’t the only states working to loosen up punitive marijuana laws. Efforts are also underway in,
        Alaska, Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Nevada, Vermont and Rhode Island, among others.

        FACTS from –

  9. frog January 25, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    No mariuana shakes, just green marijuana popcorn balls, chewing gun, candies, pizza, beer, tinctures, cookies, infussed cooking oils, doggie treats for pets with arthritis, the list goes on, and on 🙂

  10. Wayne Deja January 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    frog….maybe funny for a group of “guy-guy” pot-heads,sitting around,giggling, watching a dog and how it reacts to some idiot feeding him pot-laced treats, watching him stagger around,vomit,drool for a day or two,and laugh about it,but not too funny for the dog,the vet having to treat him,or an animal-control officer if they are told about you also consider maybe something laced with pot to keep your children quiet and out of the way while your partying ?….I’ve read about parents doing that too…..either doing it on purpose,or the child getting into the weed while the parents are in the basement playing video games…

  11. frog January 26, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    OMG Wayne and Desertortie… “tha sky is Falling…tha sky is Falling tha sky is Falling” The Lowest Scum is the Fear Mongering, War Mongering Haters 🙂

  12. Lisa L January 28, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    In dogs, clinical signs develop within 30-90 minutes after ingestion and even faster with smoke. The effects of the THC may last up to 72 hours. The most common clinical signs of toxicosis in the dog include depression, ataxia, bradycardia (slow heart rate), hypothermia (low body temperatures), vocalization, mydriasis (dilated eyes), muscular incoordination, respiratory depression, hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, seizures and coma. The most consistent clinical sign in dogs is central nervous depression, usually appearing as if the dog was falling asleep. Additional clinical signs that may be seen include hyperreflexia (exaggeration of the reflexes), hyperesthesia (increased sensation in the nerves of the skin), and nystagmus (rotation of the eyes). It is rare that a lethal dose is taken, although the period of depression may be prolonged.

    • Wayne Deja January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

      ….Thank You,Lisa…..I’ts obvious you know what your talking about…..and if it keeps one person from feeding his pet marijuana thinking it would help with it’s arthritis…or a room full of idiots doing it to get a giggle and a laugh out of the dog’s suffering,your post is well worth it…..

      • Pedro January 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

        Wayne, that is a description of poisoning from overdose. An overdose of alcohol, aspirin or even water can kill you. Should we outlaw those? Chocolate in those weed brownies can kill a dog. Should we outlaw chocolate?

        • Wayne Deja January 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

          Pedro….So what your trying to say is it would be O.K. to feed the dog marijuana as long as it’s not too much marijuana…Lisa L. is the expert on this sort of thing….and she says NOTHING about those symptoms she described as being from an “overdose”……and going to some marijuana web-site pushing for sales and legalization doesn’t change the facts….I’ve known some pot-heads in my life that thought it funny to get a dog high on weed,and from what they said about it… they were giggling with their friends….was it didn’t take a whole lot of smoke blown down their throat or much ingested to effect the dog in a negative way for quite a while…..and certainly not something that made the dog feel “better”or something that cured their problem..if it had a problem…sad thing is,if some read this discussion here,they will map out their evening tonight with their guy friends,get a couple dogs,and try it out… get a giggle,and probably post on you-tube….and make the dog sick as hell for a couple days……and something for them to laugh about for years to come.

          • Pedro January 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

            Wayne, the American Veterinary Medical Association is “some marijuana web-site pushing for sales and legalization…” ? I’ll let you get back to watching “Reefer Madness”.

    • Philip Anaya January 30, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      Why would anyone want to get high with their kid or their dog? Treating your best friend for arthritis needs a Vet to diagnose the ailment and then apply the prescriptive remedy . Thank you Lisa for your information.
      It’s been almost 30 years since I woke up one morning realizing I wasn’t loaded anymore, about 6 months after that last number, that last high that went on for about 15 years. The initial highs were a social paranoid revolutionary introspective joyride of reflection and sorry to say, this became a religious experience and ganja was the ritual . There were maybe neural pathways opened, but definitly the way the world revealed itself was changed forever . I hope that if a person decides to partake in the use of any substance that it benefits their world and the world around them . There is a difference between Jim Morrison singing ” I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer ” and Bob Seeger’s “I feel like a number” . These are different times . There aren’t too many Pink Floyd jams like “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” in today’s music to enlighten the path these days, but Bob Todd plays all my favored songs I still love to hear. It is feels so good to fess a up about all that illegal substance of the past . I’m glad I made it through those times and came out mentally intact.
      I’m glad I had the gift of children and family . Those times were the greatest highs ever experienced. I still waiting for the grand kids .

  13. Wayne Deja January 30, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Nice spin there,Pedro….In the same AVMA story your refering to,Dr. Boothe says “I’m never going to say there’s enough benifit that marijuana should be given to pets…just justification that we need to study it”…and also mentioned in the same article that researchers reported two dogs DIED after eating baked goods containing marijuana….

  14. Wayne Deja January 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    ..I took a special trip to the vet today….not with a sick pet,but to ask questions concerning this topic of giving a dog or cat marijuana to cure his ailments…..and ya know what the vet said…..and I quote….”In NO WAY should you EVER give a dog or cat marijuana in any form or dosage”… let’s see….marijuana users and abusers say it’s O.K…and a good thing to do,as well as being a proven fact that it’s a good remedy to make your animal feel better,as well as curing life-threatening diagnoses ….the vet said nope….an expert on the matter said nope….and the animal shelter says nope….unless your a total idiot,that about sums it up,don’t you think ?


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