Agriland Farming Company & CEO Charged with Stealing Water from MID Print
News - Local
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 15:27
MADERA - Madera County District Attorney, David A. Linn, announced today that Agriland Farming Company, Inc. and its Chief Executive Officer have been charged with violations of sections 592(a), 498(b), and 602(k) of the Penal Code of the State of California, in a complaint filed January 30, 2017.

The complaint alleges that between March 2, 2016, and March 10, 2016, Agriland Farming Company and its Chief Executive Officer unlawfully trespassed on lands owned and occupied by the Madera Irrigation District and diverted water from a canal owned by the District without authorization and without paying compensation.

Agriland is charged in Counts One and Two of the complaint with felony violations of Sections 592(a) and 498(b), while its CEO is charged with misdemeanor violations of those same sections in Counts Three and Four; both defendants are charged with a misdemeanor violation of Section 602(k) in Count Five. An arraignment has been set for February 23, 2017, at 8:30 am, in Department 29 of the Madera Superior Court, before the Honorable Mitchell Rigby.


This case resulted from an investigation by the Madera County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations and the District Attorney Agricultural Crimes and Water Task Force. D.A. Linn is the lead prosecutor in the case and he thanks the staff and counsel of the Madera Irrigation District for their cooperation in the matter.

 

Big Valley News contacted the Madera County District Attorney's public information officer John Bell for further information on this case, like the name of the individuals charged and he said, "District Attorney Linn does not want to release the names of individuals charged at this time."

James Maxwell, CEO for Agriland Farming Company, told Big Valley News, "Our reputation is very important to us and we have not taken any water that we were not intitled. We have also not be contacted by the Madera Coounty District Attorney regarding this case."


Maxwell founded and serves as CEO of various California agricultural companies, including Agriland Farming Company, Inc.; Agri Systems, Inc.; Agri Capital, Inc.; Madera Ag Supply, Inc.; and Growers Fig Company, Inc. These companies combine to form a fully integrated, nationally ranked, permanent crop operation specializing in almonds, pistachios, grapes, walnuts, figs, mandarins and kiwifruit. Maxwell earned an MBA from California State University, Fresno, where he also served as part-time faculty in the Craig School of Business.


D.A. Linn further stated that, “We are all subject to the laws of the State of California, and in Madera County, we prosecute everyone equally.”