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California in Brief / SACRAMENTO

Two convicted of pot profiteering

May 18, 2008|Eric Bailey

Two men accused by federal prosecutors of using profits from a medical cannabis dispensary to fuel a lavish lifestyle have been found guilty of conducting a criminal enterprise, authorities said.

Luke Anthony Scarmazzo and Ricardo Ruiz Montes, both 28, made more than $9 million in three years of operating the Modesto dispensary before their arrest in 2006.

They face a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life.

U.S. Atty. McGregor Scott said Friday that the pair hid behind California's medical marijuana law but broke state and federal drug laws. The state's medical pot law makes it illegal to profit from selling marijuana.

Prosecutors said Scarmazzo bought a $184,000 Mercedes. More than $130,000 in cash was stored in a safe deposit box.

The case returns to federal court next week as prosecutors seek the forfeiture of more than $200,000 in assets.

-- Eric Bailey

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