A Holden man who ran an illegal marijuana operation out of his business is going to prison.

49-year-old Christopher Ruhlin is the former owner of Herbal Tea and Tobacco and Owl's Club. Prosecutors say he began running an illegal 'medical' marijuana operation out of his business after his application to open a legal dispensary was denied in 2010. He was also accused of trying to hide the cash proceeds from bank regulators.

Ruhlin could have faced four to five years in prison, but a judge sentenced him to serve 20 months behind bars. The state recognized that Ruhlin was only trying to help people, but say there are other, legal ways to accomplish that goal. WABI-TV reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey told the judge that, while Ruhlin isn't a monster, that doesn't excuse his behavior.

In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay $115,000 to the government. Ruhlin's employee, Terrence Sawtelle, was also sentenced on Tuesday. He will spend 12 months and one day in prison.

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