Judge rejects plea deal for 80-year-old marijuana dealer

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BOSTON >> A federal judge has rejected a plea agreement that called for a five- to seven-year prison sentence for an 80-year-old man who ran a multistate marijuana-dealing operation.

Marshall Dion was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court. But the hearing was canceled after Judge Denise Casper rejected the plea agreement and the joint sentencing recommendation by Dion's lawyers and prosecutors.

Casper had postponed the hearing last month after she questioned both sides about why the proposed sentence was so much lower than the 30-year sentence called for under federal sentencing guidelines.

Authorities said Dion ran a sprawling marijuana enterprise for decades. When police stopped him for speeding in 2013, in Junction City, Kansas, they found about $828,000 in cash in his beat-up pickup truck.

A federal investigation led authorities to Massachusetts and Arizona, where they found about $15 million in cash, nearly 400 pounds of marijuana and ledgers detailing drug deals going back to 1992.

Casper gave Dion's lawyers until March 18 to inform the court whether he will withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial or whether he will agree to be sentenced without a plea agreement. She scheduled a status conference for March 22.


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