2 Mexican nationals admit Missouri refuge pot-growing plot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Two Mexican nationals have admitted in federal court their role in a large marijuana-growing operation at a central Missouri federal wildlife refuge.

Twenty-seven-year-old Carlos Horacio Vasquez-Duarte and 24-year-old Rigaberto Camacho Reyes pleaded guilty Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Federal prosecutors say law enforcement officers discovered the marijuana-growing operation last October on five acres of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Howard County. That’s where Vasquez-Duarte and Reyes were arrested.

Prosecutors say a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agent calculated that there were 881 plants in the ground and 1,103 plants that had been cut and were drying at the site.

Sentencing dates for Vasquez-Duarte and Reyes were not immediately set.