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Pot growers plead guilty to damaging conservation land

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POSTED March 6, 2014 7:44 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three Northern California men are each facing up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that they damaged federal conservation land while allegedly growing marijuana.

Prosecutors say Chou Vang, Vang Pao Yang and Pao Vang, all of Eureka, each entered their pleas in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday to one count of willful injury to federal property.

The men were accused of clearing away trees and vegetation, using fertilizers, and failing to properly dispose of trash while growing pot in the summer of 2012 in the King Range National Conservation Area.

 along California’s Lost Coast. The area provides habitat for four federally-listed threatened species, including Chinook and Coho salmon.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors say they dropped marijuana cultivation charges. The men are scheduled to be sentenced in July.

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