two california men looking at up to 20 years.

  1. beentheredonethatagain
    Medical marijuana dealers found guilty

    Published: May 17, 2008 at 9:43 AM
    MODESTO, Calif., May 17 (UPI) -- Two California men could spend 20 years behind bars after a federal jury found them guilty of operating an illegal medical marijuana business, officials said.

    A Fresno, Calif., federal jury found Modesto residents Luke Anthony Scarmazzo, 28, and Ricardo Ruiz Montes, 28, guilty of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise, growing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

    Scarmazzo and Montes' case sets an example for marijuana producers and sellers who think they are protected by California's legalization of marijuana for medical use, federal authorities said.

    Evidence in the case indicated that Scarmazzo and Montes made $9 million selling marijuana.

    "These two set out to make as much money as they could as drug dealers, plain and simple," attorney McGregor Scott said.

    The Chronicle said the convictions call for a mandatory 20-year prison sentence. U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger is scheduled to sentence them on Aug. 4.

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  1. jimmyshitbags
    thats really sad to hear, that 20 precious years could be taken away from these men. and for what? it should not even be a banned drug. seriously, i am so glad i dont live in america because its government is SO fucked up its astounding.

    20 years for supplying a plant with mild intoxicating effects. it makes me really angry when i read stuff like this. really angry. the people at the top need to pull their fuckin heads out of the sand. what right has anyone got to take 20 years away (given they are not a murderer, rapist, paedophile etc.)

    a fucking rapist wouldn't get 20 years!!!
  2. ihavequestions
    "Scarmazzo and Montes' case sets an example for marijuana producers and sellers who think they are protected by California's legalization of marijuana for medical use, federal authorities said"

    thats complete insanity. i mean they are making an "example" out of people. i mean these two dealers are still PEOPLE. and they are using them as objects with no value to set an example. theyre literaly ruining and throwing 2 lives away all for something that isnt going to change anything or make a difference. the feds only showed an "example" of how ludicrous this whole thing is.
  3. beentheredonethatagain
    I would have to bet that the millions of dollars that they made selling pot had alot to do with them even being taking to jail.
  4. Hyperspaceblastoff
    FRESNO -- A federal jury found two Modesto men guilty Thursday of drug charges for operating a medical marijuana dispensary, which raked in $6 million to $9 million in less than two years.

    Luke Scarmazzo and Ricardo Ruiz Montes, both 27, immediately were taken into custody.

    Both men were convicted of manufacturing marijuana and distributing the drug, as well as operating a continuing criminal enterprise, a felony that carries a mandatory 20-year minimum prison term, with the possibility of life behind bars.

    Jurors cleared each man on weapons charges but deadlocked on a conspir-acy charge. U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger scheduled a May 27 hearing, when the government will decide whether to retry the men on the conspiracy charge.

    Anthony Capozzi, who represented Scarmazzo, said after the verdict that it was "an unfair prosecution," in which the federal government piled on criminal charges against two people who never intended to break the law.

    "It's an injustice for these people to go away for 20 years," he said.

    But U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said Montes and Scarmazzo's business had nothing to do with the medical use of marijuana.

    "They were operating as drug dealers, plain and simple," he said in a telephone interview after the verdict.

    Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden supported the jury's decision.

    "I think it's a correct verdict," he said. "The jury validated this was a criminal enterprise."

    In September 2006, federal authorities raided the California Healthcare Collective in Modesto after a long investigation that included undercover drug buys.

    Scarmazzo and Montes said they never intended to break the law. The business, their attorneys said, was "aboveboard," obtaining a business license, paying taxes and making sure patients had doctors' notes before purchases.

    "Everything the defendants did was legal under state law," Capozzi said after the verdict. But neither he nor Robert Forkner, who represented Montes, were able to use state law as a defense because under federal law, marijuana is illegal.

    Prosecutors said federal law not only trumped state law, but the two men also violated state law because their business wasn't a nonprofit enterprise.

    Defense attorneys offered evidence that the business was at one point transformed into a nonprofit, but prosecutors said Scarmazzo and Montes spent collective money for nonbusiness items, in addition to their salaries.

    Among the items the two men bought were jet skis and a $180,000 Mercedes-Benz.

    A key part of the trial was a hip-hop video that featured Scarmazzo uttering the line "Fuck the feds."

    Scarmazzo, a musician and aspiring hip-hop artist, took the stand to explain, saying it was his way of showing that the federal government "is turning a blind eye" to medical marijuana, which he said could help people.

    The video was perhaps the most sensational part of the trial, and there were suggestions from Capozzi that Scarmazzo was on trial only because he dared to challenge the federal government's authority.

    Jurors deliberated for two days before delivering their verdict.

    One juror, Craig Will of Tuolumne County, said after the verdict that he expected the two men to get probation or a few months in prison.

    "I'm really appalled to discover that there's a 20-year mandatory minimum on the continuing criminal enterprise charge," he said.

    Capozzi said he plans to seek a new trial and will appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because he said he believes there was insufficient evidence to merit the continuing criminal enterprise verdict.
  5. AquafinaOrbit
    A real shame, a law the really needs to be changed but until it is cases like this are no surprise.
  6. Nature Boy
    This is a massive injustice. People being made examples of over bureaucratic inadequacy. If the federal government allowed people like this on the tax radar, they wouldn't have a problem. I guess folks aren't allowed access to effective medicine and are just expected to keep on suffering.
  7. AntiAimer
    Exactly, lets go after all pharmacies, there filled with drugs and drug dealers. Millions is chump change for them, billions is more there style with millions of casualties. But oh yeah, somehow they fall under federal law.

    Sad that there are people who would actually juror on cases like this, which basically prooves that OUR(there) vote means nothing. WTF is wrong people...

    Crimes Against Humanity - 8947589043759843758943758
    Humanity- -98457324895738945
  8. beentheredonethatagain
    "One juror, Craig Will of Tuolumne County, said after the verdict that he expected the two men to get probation or a few months in prison."

    This is a juror who made a decision to go with the guilty verdict , because he thought why its only a few months in prision. That is not what his duty was based on, they are to hear the evidence and decide beyond a resonable doubt guilt or innocence, the punishment has nothing to do with their conclusion.

    It sounds as if he knew it would be 20 years he would have voted differently. That would be grounds for a mis-trial.
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