FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Kevin Nouthai Yang, 47, of Fresno, charging him with conspiring to cultivate and distribute marijuana, cultivating marijuana, and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Yang, a high school teacher’s aide for the Central Unified School District, is the owner of property that he purchased earlier this year in the Shasta Trinity National Forest in Hay Fork, California in Trinity County. At the beginning of November, U.S. Forest Service agents executed a search warrant at Yang’s property after seeing hundreds of large, mature marijuana plants growing there. The agents found Yang in the process of harvesting marijuana and seized 324 pounds of marijuana, 200 marijuana plants, and a firearm. Some of the marijuana grown on Yang’s property had already been distributed to Fresno.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service and Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Yang is currently detained but has been ordered released on a secured bond. He is scheduled to appear in federal court for arraignment on the indictment on November 21, 2014.
If convicted, Yang faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.