District Attorney David Linn announced Wednesday that Agriland Farming Company, Inc. and its Chief Executive Officer face both felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly diverting water from the Madera Irrigation District without compensation.
In a release, Linn claimed Agriland Farming Company of Chowchilla, and its Chief Executive Officer, James Maxwell, unlawfully trespassed on lands owned and occupied by the MID and diverted water from a canal it owned without authorization and without paying for the resource.
The company faces felony violations of water and utility theft, while Maxwell faces similar misdemeanor charges. Both the company and CEO were charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
An arraignment has been set for Feb. 23 at 8:30 am, in Department 29 of the Madera Superior Court, before Judge 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, Linn said.
Linn will act as lead prosecutor in the case and thanked the staff and counsel of MID for their cooperation.
“We are all subject to the laws of the State of California, and in Madera County, we prosecute everyone equally,” Linn said.
Last December, Agriland’s Benevolence Fund donated $4,000 to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office to distribute amongst the Mountain Area and Valley public as $100 “Christmas Grams.”
The charges are only allegations, the defendants are presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty.