Marcos Solano Farias, 32, and Joe Miseal Avaia Talavera, 20, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to charges of unlawful manufacture with intent to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants. They also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and damage to government property.
Police raided two outdoor marijuana growing operations in the forest a few miles from Highway 21 in Boise County on Sept. 11. The two men, Mexico nationals, were taken into custody at a camp located next to the grow site on Rabbit Creek.
A total of 1,411 live plants, along with several hundred plants that had been harvested, were confiscated. Officers also seized two semi-automatic handguns and a rifle.
A nearby grow site at Beaver Creek that police said was related to the Rabbit Creek operation yielded another 5,463 marijuana plants.
Four other defendants were indicted on similar charges. Juan Pablo Villasenor Villa, Gilberto Contreras, and Carlos Cerdo Carpia are scheduled to go on trial on March 17.
Mariah Villasenor Rodriguez, of Caldwell is scheduled to plead guilty Feb. 24 to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise said.
Solano and Avaia each face from 10 years to life when they are sentenced May 14 by Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill. The other charges carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison. The case was the result of a joint investigation result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Agencies that took part were the Boise County Sheriff's Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, along with the Ada and Canyon County sheriff's offices, the Boise, Meridian, Caldwell, Nampa and Spokane, Wash., police departments. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the Washington State Police also provided assistance.