Crime

Request for new trial in marijuana case denied

Luke Scarmazzo
Luke Scarmazzo Modesto Bee

A judge on Monday denied multiple motions seeking a new trial for Modesto residents Luke Scarmazzo, atleft, and Ricardo Ruiz Montes, below left, who in May were found guilty on federal drug charges.

The two men, both 28, operated a medical marijuana dispensary that raked in somewhere between $6 million and $9 million in less than two years of operation.

Attorneys for the two men sought a new trial on grounds of juror misconduct, improper jury instruction, not being allowed to argue a point in closing arguments, inconsistent verdicts and vindictive prosecution.

U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger denied them all. The attorneys also sought to have the most serious charge -- operating a continuing criminal enterprise, a felony that carries a mandatory 20-year minimum prison term -- thrown out.

Wanger also denied that motion. Both men were scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but because the motions hearing took so long, Wanger rescheduled the sentencing for Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.

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