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San Benito
April 14, 2024

Man sentenced for illegal grow in endangered habitat

Prosecutors announced a eight-month sentence in connection with an illegal marijuana grow in a sensitive habitat of an endangered species.

According to the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office:

The San Benito District Attorney’s Office announced today that Emmanuel Jiminez Rivera, 30, was sentenced to one felony, cultivating marijuana, with a weapons enhancement, and three misdemeanors, taking of an endangered species, receiving stolen property, and discharging a deleterious substance into the waters of the state. Rivera will serve eight months in the San Benito County Jail.

On June 22, 2016 a marijuana eradication operation was conducted along Silver Creek, off Panoche Road in San Benito County. In total, officers eradicated 3,354 marijuana plants from the illegal grow site. Oil, gasoline, and other substances harmful to fish, plants, and other wildlife were found along the bank of Silver Creek. Marijuana plants were found growing alongside and directly in the creek channel. The illegal grow was conducted in an environmentally sensitive habitat of an endangered species, which Rivera killed. Rivera was also found to be in possession of a stolen firearm.

District Attorney Candice Hooper stated “I would like to commend all the agencies involved in this prosecution. Mr. Rivera’s actions posed a threat to our community. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Circuit Prosecutor
Project and our law enforcement agencies in protecting our county.”

District Attorney Hooper assigned prosecution of this matter to Taylor G. Rhodes, a Deputy District Attorney in San Benito County and Circuit Prosecutor with the Circuit Prosecutor Project at the California District Attorneys Association. Circuit Prosecutors, like Rhodes, bring experience in prosecuting environmental and workplace safety crimes to rural counties that
are often hard-pressed to allocate resources to prosecute these sorts of crimes, at no cost to the county.

Rhodes worked closely with the agents and officers involved in seeking an appropriate result in this case. Says Rhodes: “Justice was served by holding Rivera accountable for his actions for damaging sensitive environmental resources. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the law enforcement community for protecting this community and its natural