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South Lake Tahoe Man Pleads Guilty to Marijuana Trafficking

JAN 09 (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Gennaro DiMatteo, 43, of South Lake Tahoe, pleaded guilty today to count two of the indictment, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Hitt is prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, during a search of DiMatteo’s South Lake Tahoe residence, agents discovered a hidden door that led to several rooms under the structure. The rooms had been set up with equipment that is standard for cultivating marijuana indoors. Detectives discovered approximately five pounds of processed marijuana and 15 pounds of marijuana “shake,” that is, residual marijuana used for cooking marijuana edibles. Also found were a scale and a heat sealing machine known to be used to prepare marijuana for distribution and shipping. The heat sealing is thought to conceal the marijuana odor.

Inside a freezer within DiMatteo’s detached garage, detectives located marijuana-laced ice cream, granola bars, and pizzas. Within a desk inside the kitchen area, as well as inside a desk in the living room area of DiMatteo’s residence, detectives found pay/owe sheets. In particular, DiMatteo had notes setting the price of the marijuana sold at a South Lake Tahoe marijuana dispensary known as “City of Angels II.” On a separate set of documents, DiMatteo listed the various amounts paid. DiMatteo lists himself receiving $7,000 biweekly. As part of his plea agreement, DiMatteo specifically admitted that he possessed the marijuana seized from his residence on August 31, 2012, with intent to distribute it to others.

A bail review hearing is set for this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 26 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Allison Claire. DiMatteo is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on April 17, 2013. The maximum statutory penalty for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana is 30 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences than in State courts. There is no early release or parole in the federal system.

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