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Ex-Tahoe medical pot dispensary owner indicted

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) -- The former owner of a South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary has been indicted on drug charges.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Gino DiMatteo on charges of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants.

His attorney, Robert Woelfel, didn't immediately return a call for comment.

DeMatteo's City of Angels II Collective closed this summer after his landlord sought his ouster and city officials would not allow him to move his operation.

Court documents allege DeMatteo committed the crimes after being convicted of felony conspiracy to distribute marijuana in New York in 2002. He also was convicted of felony possession of a handgun in New Jersey in 1999, prosecutors said.

The convictions could have prevented DeMatteo from obtaining a permit to operate the dispensary. City rules allow the city manager to revoke a dispensary permit if any employee is convicted of a felony related to operating a collective.

DeMatteo listed no criminal background on his permit application to the city, and the city failed to complete a required background check on him prior to issuing him a permit to operate the collective, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/10moSlJ ).

DeMatteo gave police an inaccurate “originating agency identification number,” or ORI, during the background check, Police Chief Brian Uhler told the Tribune.

The ORI number he provided was unassigned, and the results of the background check were never returned, Uhler said.

It was an oversight that DeMatteo's application was then allowed to move to the next phase of the city's dispensary permit process without the results, Uhler said, adding that several city departments were involved.

DeMatteo, 43, remained in custody at the Sacramento County Jail.

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Information from: Tahoe Daily Tribune, http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/

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