Three men have been sentenced for a conspiracy to cultivate and distribute marijuana grown in Fresno under the guise of being “medicinal,” the FBI announced Friday.
Ernson Merisier, 27, of Holbrook, Mass., and Ruddys A. Pimentel, 29, both of Roslindale, Mass. were each sentenced to 30 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release; Marquis Allen Meca, 27, also of Roslindale, was sentenced to 24 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release, according to an FBI statement emailed to journalists.
“According to their plea agreements, Merisier, Meca and Pimentel admitted that they had received marijuana worth over half a million dollars for distribution in Massachusetts,” the FBI reported.
“The marijuana was grown in agricultural fields in Fresno that were posted with medicinal marijuana recommendations from two local doctors. Rather than cultivating the marijuana in California for strictly medical use, however, co-defendants Bounepheng Savongsy, 51; Phousangkhy Phanthadeth, aka Phou, 38; Manop Souksavath, 38; all of Fresno, conspired to ship the marijuana to Merisier, Meca, and Pimentel in the Boston area, where the drug was sold for about $3,000 per pound, about three times what it sells for in California.”
Phanthadeth and Souksavath were arrested in Utah following a traffic stop of their vehicle, which contained about 184 pounds of the Fresno-grown marijuana, the FBI said. Law enforcement officials then supervised the delivery of the marijuana to Merisier, Meca, and Pimentel in Roslindale, Mass. Merisier paid about $66,000 in cash as partial payment for the total price — $570,400 — of the marijuana. The defendants were then arrested and law enforcement searches in locations in Fresno, Cedar City, Utah, and Roslindale, Mass. resulted in the seizure of approximately 4,620 live marijuana plants, approximately 3,563 pounds of processed marijuana, 11 firearms, one 2006 Dodge Charger, and approximately $113,151 in cash.
Phanthadeth and Souksavath pleaded guilty and received prison sentences of five years and two years, respectively. Savongsy, who also pleaded guilty, is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill on January 23, 2012.