Grower Arrested and Charged – Allegedly Ignited Wildfire

A marijuana grower is suspected of starting a 1,600-acre wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest and was indicted by a federal grand jury for damaging forestlands and setting the fire. In addition to the charges related to the fire and damages, the grower is also facing five counts of criminal marijuana cultivation. This is the second marijuana farmer suspected of setting a major fire this year. According to the arrest warrant and court reports, the grower allegedly set the crops afire after he became concerned that other men at the cultivation site had plotted to kill him.

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The case raises concerns about illegal activity surrounding the marijuana business. Our Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting legal cultivators, distributors, growers, and those holding medical marijuana licenses. We are abreast of marijuana legal issues impacting our clients and California residents. As informed and strategic advocates, we are current with legal trends in Southern California and nationwide. For those involved in the marijuana industry, our attorneys provide a broad range of legal services.

The federal arrest warrant was filed in the U.S. District Court. It contends the grower was spotted the day of the fire by a Forest Service helicopter pilot who was sent to make water drops on the flames. According to statements made by the pilot, the defendant was wearing no shirt and standing at the edge of the fire, frantically waving his arms. He had a cellphone and was trying to get the helicopter to land. The fire had spread to 100 acres and was growing quickly. The pilot immediately notified authorities who began to investigate the area and seek out the man who had been standing near the fire.

The following evening, the local sheriff’s office received a call that a man with no shirt, looking disheveled and distraught, showed up at a door looking for help. He told them he had been lost in the desert for two days. The sheriff’s office responded to the scene and took the man in for questioning. According to the police officer’s report, the man admitted in his interview that he was hired to tend 900 plants at a marijuana grow. Through the course of the previous weeks, he had grown more worrisome about whispers that the other were going to kill him and bury him on the site so that they did not have to pay him. Without giving notice to others at the grow, he took supplies and abandoned the site.

In his escape, he heard the other men chasing him from the site. After running for a mile, he started lighting fires with a cigarette lighter in attempt to stop the men in their tracks. The fires spread and grew quickly, expanding to over 1,600 acres of land before it was contained. Authorities report that the fires could result in millions of dollars in damages.
The same day that the fires erupted, another marijuana grower was arrested for a fire that started in Shasta County. In that case authorities allege that a grower drove a large rental truck into a marijuana grow site, the exhaust setting the dry grass into flames.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

More Blog Entries:
Getting Started in the Medical Marijuana Industry, May 15, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
App Technology Highlights Future of Marijuana Business, July 9, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog