SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Federal charges were filed Thursday afternoon against the four men arrested in connection to the death of El Dorado County Deputy Brian Ishmael.
Deputy Ishmael was shot and killed at an illegal marijuana grow in Somerset on Oct. 23. Two of the men indicted are Mexican nationals who are in this country illegally.
A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a four-count indictment against Christopher Ross, Juan Carlos Vasquez-Orozco, Ramiro Bravo Morales, and Jorge Lamas.
All four are charged with conspiracy to grow marijuana. Vasquez and Morales are also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
Officials at Thursday’s news conference had strong words about the growing problem of illegal marijuana grows in California.
“I ask that you, the media, please call this what this is. Don’t soften it. This tragedy was due to an illegal alien tending an illegal marijuana garden, who murdered my deputy,” El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said.
The men are also facing state charges. Vasquez and Ross are both charged with murder.
Morales is charged with knowing Vasquez-Orozco committed murder but helping him try and avoid arrest anyway.
According to the federal prosecutor, the penalty for the marijuana counts is a five-year minimum prison sentence up to 40 years with fines up to $5 million. The discharge of a firearm during a drug crime is a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The alien in possession of a firearm count is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.