A Rancho Cucamonga resident Aaron Sandusky was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Monday for the distribution of hundreds of pounds of marijuana in what prosecutors are labeling as an illegal commercial marijuana business.
The 42 year old Sandusky is no stranger to the business. He is the former owner of Marijuana store G3 Holistics Inc. in the Inland Empire. According to a statement by the U.S attorneys office he was found guilty last fall of conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute around 1,000 marijuana plants.
Mr. Sandusky received several warnings in October of 2011 from prosecutors informing him that his G3 Marijuana stores were violating federal law. The stores, at the time, were based in Colton, Moreno Valley and Upland. Sandusky complied by closing down the Colton and Moreno Valley stores, but kept the Upland store open. The store remained open even after two separate search warrants were issued by the federal authorities. Two asset forfeiture lawsuits have been filed against almost $11,500 in cash seized by federal authorities in November 2011.
It should be noted here that when a federal agency like the FBI, DEA, IRS or even the local sheriff’s department executes a search warrant on your business it is time to close up shop and hire a lawyer; a federal criminal defense lawyer, not the lawyer who helped you set up the business!
The U.S attorneys office claims that Sandusky used his G3 businesses to recuperate money lost from the closure of his real estate business that he ran previously, and that he used ‘his customers’ good-faith search for pain relief’ to fund his criminal activities. Although this may be true, it appears that Sandusky was providing medicine to those who needed it.
Prosecutors also claim in a sentencing memo that Sandusky is ‘an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding ‘medical’ marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself.’ The law is not ambiguous. It is illegal to distribute marijuana in the eyes of the Federal government no matter what the state law says.
Sandusky is one of six people in total that are connected to G3 and were indicted by federal grand jury in June of 2012. He is the first to be sentenced. After the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on four other counts, including marijuana growing in Ontario and operating a drug involved business, those counts were dismissed at the prosecutors request by U.S District Judge Percy Anderson who presided over Sandusky’s trial. The U.S. attorney’s office most likely decided that it was not worth re-trying those counts since they got their conviction on the conspiracy and intent to distribute marijuana counts.
The other five defendants in the case, including co-owner John Leslie Nuckolls of Rialto, have all pled guilty and their sentences are expected to be handed down over the coming weeks.
The feds are cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries. It is that simple. If you are contacted by any law enforcement agency about any participation you may have in a collective or dispensary, please contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass immediately.