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.