Crime

Grand jury indicts Modesto man found at marijuana site in Stanislaus National Forest

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. In Fresno you can report some crimes online: https://www.fresno.gov/police/police-online-repo

A federal grand jury has indicted a 27-year-old Modesto man accused of growing cannabis in the Stanislaus National Forest, where authorities say they found him and more than 2,000 marijuana plants last month.

Jose Garcia-Zamora was charged Aug. 8 with manufacturing marijuana, conspiring to manufacture marijuana, possessing a gun in a drug‑trafficking crime and damaging public lands and natural resources, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

On July 26, 2019, law enforcement officials arrested Garcia-Zamora at the growing site. Federal prosecutors said he had a .45 caliber pistol when he was taken into custody.

Investigators found the clandestine marijuana growing site on U.S. Forest Service land in Tuolumne County, along with 2,642 marijuana plants.

If convicted of the drug conspiracy and manufacturing charges, Garcia-Zamora would face 10 years to life in federal prison and a $10 million fine, the prosecutors said. The environmental charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The prosecutors also said Garcia-Zamora — if convicted — could be ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for damages. The gun charge has a possible five-year consecutive prison sentence.

Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.
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