(05-16) 11:07 PDT FRESNO -- Two Modesto men are
facing mandatory 20-year prison sentences after being convicted of running a medical-marijuana operation that federal prosecutors labeled a criminal enterprise, authorities said today.
Luke Anthony Scarmazzo, 28, and Ricardo Ruiz Montes, 28, were convicted by a federal jury Fresno on Thursday of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise, growing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.
The conviction for running a criminal enterprise carries a mandatory sentence of at least 20 years. U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger is to sentence both men Aug. 4.
Federal officials said the case sends a message to marijuana growers and dealers who believe they are shielded from prosecution under the California law legalizing medical marijuana use.