Inland Empire pot entrepreneur faces 10 years at sentencing
Prosecutors have recommended that a judge today sentence the head of an Inland Empire pot-growing and distribution business with stores in Moreno Valley, Colton and Upland to at least 10 years in federal prison for drug convictions.
Aaron Sandusky, 42, of Rancho Cucamonga, founder and owner of G3 Holistic, was convicted at trial in October of conspiring to grow pot, possessing it and distributing it.
Federal prosecutors describe Sandusky in Los Angeles federal court documents as "a money-hungry criminal utterly uninterested in abiding by the rules of ordered society."
Sandusky's convictions, combined with the jury's findings that the offenses involved over 1,000 marijuana plants, subjects him to a mandatory minimum of 120 months imprisonment at today's hearing before U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Sandusky's attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, contends that his client was running a perfectly legal operation under California law. Prosecutors, however, see it differently.
Sandusky "is an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding `medical' marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself," prosecutors wrote in sentencing papers.
The defendant "built a veneer of legitimacy around his criminal enterprise using his customers' good-faith search for pain relief. There is absolutely no altruistic component to defendant's continued and sustained criminality," prosecutors stated.
According to the sentencing memo, the "most alarming" aspect of Sandusky's behavior "is his total lack of remorse for subjecting his co- defendants to prosecution for working at G3."
Federal law does not allow any kind of marijuana business and it trumps state laws recognizing it as medicine. In October 2011, prosecutors warned Sandusky in writing.
Sandusky and five associates were later indicted by a federal grand jury, with the U.S. Attorney's Office alleging they were using California laws that provide for nonprofit groups to grow and distribute pot to people whosedoctors have recommended it.
In November 2011, federal agents raided the Upland G3 Holistic store and seized $11,500 in cash.
According to the indictment, G3 Holistic took in $3.3 million during an eight-month period last year. The pot-growing operation was in Ontario.
Sandusky's older brother, Keith, and the other four indicted pleaded guilty before trial and are awaiting sentencing.
Copyright 2014 City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.