Inland Empire pot entrepreneur faces 10 years at sentencing

Pot growing and distribution operation included store in Moreno Valley

POSTED: 06:28 AM PST Jan 07, 2013 

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.