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Marijuana Grower Who Damaged Native American Site Sentenced

Carlos Piedra-Murillo, 30, and a group of men cultivated an estimated 8,000 marijuana plants on a Native American site in California.

A man who was busted growing an estimated 8,000 marijuana plants on a Native American archeological site in northern California was sentenced June 5, according to reports.

Carlos Piedra-Murillo, 30, was sentenced by a Fresno judge to more than two years in prison and a $5,000 penalty, the Associated Press reported. The money is slated to to help the U.S. Forest Service repair the area damaged by the grow site.

RELATED: Feds Threaten to Shut Down Marijuana Festival on Tribal Land

Earlier this year, Piedra-Murillo and a group of men including Juan Carlos Lopez, 32, Rafael Torres-Armenta, 30, Javier Garcia-Castaneda, 38, pleaded guilty to the charges of “conspiring to cultivate marijuana with intent to distribute, cultivating marijuana, and damaging public land and natural resources in connection with a large-scale marijuana cultivation operation in the Domeland Wilderness area in the Sequoia National Forest,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.


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Along with the plants, the group was busted with a rifle, an air gun, ammunition, and more than 15 pounds of processed marijuana.

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In April, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that the men had rerouted water to their grow site—water meant for trout sustainability, uprooted vegetation following a fire in the area to make room for the marijuana plants, and left mounds of trash behind. The three other men will be sentenced later this month, the AP reported.

Meanwhile, a marijuana consultant for the Flandreau Santee Sioux was acquitted of all charges last month in connection with the tribe’s attempt to launch a cannabis resort on its reservation in South Dakota in 2015. Marijuana website Leafly reported it took the jury only two hours to acquit Eric Hagen of Colorado on three counts. Hagen said at a press conference that he was happy with the outcome, but emphasized the need to fully recognize tribal sovereignty.

“The state now has to realize that the tribe is a sovereign nation and they can’t overstep their jurisdictional boundaries just because they don’t like something,” he said.

The tribe, which was the first in Indian country to legalize marijuana, eventually set fire to its entire crop before the federal government could raid the area and seize the plants.