Dec 072011

A failed plot by three Fresno men to grow pot under the guise of medical marijuana users but instead sell it for profit has led to prison sentences for three Massachusetts men who bought the drugs.

The men were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno to between 24 and 30 months in prison, to be followed by two to three years of supervised release, according to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and federal court and drug officials.

They pleaded guilty in September, the Fresno Bee reports. According to court documents, they admitted buying the marijuana worth more than $500,000 from three Fresno growers to sell in Massachusetts.

The Fresno men charged with growing and shipping the drugs pleaded guilty in federal court. Two of them – Phousangkhy Phanthadeth, 38, and Manop Souksavath, 38 – were sentenced to two to five years in prison. The third man – Bounepheng Savongsy, 51 – is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

According to court documents, Phanthadeth and Souksavath were arrested during a traffic stop in Utah. Investigators found 184 pounds of marijuana inside the vehicle.

Law enforcement officials supervised delivery of the marijuana to the three men in Massachusetts. One of the men had paid $66,000 in cash in partial payment for the marijuana being sold for $570,000.

Investigators served search warrants in Fresno, Utah and Massachusetts in connection with the case and seized more than 4,600 marijuana plants, more than 3,500 pounds of processed marijuana, 11 firearms and about $113,000 in cash.

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