A South Lake Tahoe marijuana dispensary owner has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for marijuana trafficking.
Gennaro DiMatteo, 43, was sentenced today in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. DiMatteo had entered a guilty plea in January. As part of his plea agreement, DiMatteo will forfeit more than $40,000 to the United States, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
In pleading guilty, DiMatteo admitted that during a search of his South Lake Tahoe residence, law enforcement agents discovered a hidden door that led to several subsurface rooms under the structure. Equipment set up in the rooms was standard for indoor marijuana cultivation gardens.
Detectives discovered approximately 5 pounds of processed marijuana in one of the subsurface rooms. In the basement area, they found a scale on a table near a food saver machine. These items were consistent with heat sealing marijuana after weighing out quantities for distribution and shipping out of state, authorities said, noting that the heat sealing can conceal and disguise the marijuana odor.
In all, detectives seized about 5 pounds of processed marijuana and 15 pounds of marijuana "shake," residual marijuana used for cooking marijuana edibles.
Inside a freezer in DiMatteo's detached garage, detectives found marijuana-laced ice cream, granola bars and pizzas.
During questioning, DiMatteo told authorities that he was not a marijuana user.
A search of a desk in the living room area of the home turned up pay/owe sheets. DiMatteo had notes setting the price of the marijuana sold at a South Lake Tahoe marijuana dispensary known as City of Angels II, authorities said. In a separate set of documents, he had listed the various amounts paid.
DiMatteo listed himself as receiving $7,000 bi-weekly.
As part of his plea agreement, DiMatteo specifically admitted that he possessed the marijuana seized from his residence on Aug. 31, 2012, with the intent to distribute it to others, according to the news release.
The case resulted from an investigation by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department, the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office and the Sacramento District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.