Pot grower sentenced to 10 years for distributing marijuana
A Rancho Cucamonga man was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana through what prosecutors described as a commercial pot business.
Aaron Sandusky, 42, the former owner of G3 Holistics Inc. in the Inland Empire, was found guilty last fall of conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute at least 1,000 marijuana plants, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
The criminal case against Sandusky came after he received warnings in October 2011 from prosecutors that G3’s marijuana stores were violating federal law.
Although he closed his stores in Colton and Moreno Valley, Sandusky kept the Upland store open even after federal authorities executed two separate search warrants at his location, filing an asset forfeiture lawsuit and a second assets forfeiture lawsuit against nearly $11,500 in cash seized by authorities in November 2011.
Sandusky “is an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding ‘medical’ marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
The U.S. attorney’s office said he used G3 as a means to replace the money he lost from the collapse of his real estate business and used “his customers’ good-faith search for pain relief” to fund his criminal enterprise.
After the jury was unable to reach unanimous verdicts on four other counts, including operating drug-involved businesses and a marijuana growing operation in Ontario, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who presided over Sandusky’s trial, dismissed those counts at the prosecutor’s request.
Sandusky was one of six people connected to G3 who were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2012. The other five defendants, including co-owner John Leslie Nuckolls of Rialto, pleaded guilty are expected to be sentenced in the coming weeks.
-- Adolfo Flores
Photo: Aaron Sandusky was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for distributing marijuana. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times