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Jury Convicts Former Bakersfield Marijuana Store Owner

JUL 22 (FRESNO, Calif.) - After a four–day trial, a federal jury found Raymond Arthur Gentile, 55, currently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, guilty today of conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and two counts of making false statements during firearms transactions, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin announced.  The trial was held before United States District Judge Dale A. Drozd.

According to evidence presented at trial, Gentile was the owner and operator of ANP, a marijuana storefront, in Bakersfield.  During the execution of a federal search warrant, agents seized 170 marijuana plants, over 24 pounds of processed marijuana, over $68,000 in cash, and a shotgun.  The testimony at trial established that Gentile made $25,000 to $30,000 a month in gross proceeds.  Agents found the marijuana plants growing in two separate grow rooms within the store and sales receipts indicated 40 to 50 sales to customers each day.  In addition, the evidence showed that Gentile made false statements on a Firearms Transaction Record, ATF Form 4473, in order to purchase two Glock firearms.  One of the firearms was seized from ANP during the investigation of this case.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the California Highway Patrol, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Melanie L. Alsworth are prosecuting the case.

After the jury returned its verdict, Gentile was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Drozd on October 17, 2016.  Gentile faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, as to each of the three drug counts.  He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine for each of the false statement convictions.  The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.


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