A marijuana farmer will spend the rest of his life in prison after murdering one of his immigrant workers and shooting another so he wouldn’t have to pay them.
Mikal Wilde, 33, was sentenced Thursday after he was convicted earlier this year for murder and drug trafficking.
Federal prosecutors accused Wilde of a “belief that the immigrant workers were expendable, not in a position to complain.”
“The defendant preyed on their status and viewed them as free labor that could not stand up to him,” prosecutors charged.
In summer 2010, Wilde opened a marijuana farm that spanned 800 acres and included 1,500 plants in Kneeland, Calif. He hired three immigrants to cultivate the pot.
His rampage began after three of his immigrant workers tried to quit and sought payment for the work they had done.
Rather than pay them, the marijuana farmer hunted down one of the workers, Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid, and shot him three times, including once in the back of the head.
The marijuana farmer also shot another immigrant worker, Pedro Fernando Lopez-Paz, in the face, but he survived.
The third worker escaped unscathed.
Instead of becoming the first slave-master in the rapidly growing marijuana industry, the marijuana farmer will spend the rest of his life behind bars.