A Texas man thought he’d figured out a way to take advantage of Colorado’s legal pot laws, and beat Texas’ pot prohibition, by buying a bunch of Sticky Icky in Colorado and then mailing the pot to himself back in Texas.
The fatal flaw in his plan was that UPS facilities in Colorado are on the lookout for that sort of thing.
WTSP (Tampa) reports that Johnny Wolfe of San Angelo, Texas, visited two legal pot dispensaries in Pueblo, Colorado, on January 8 and purchased nine pounds of high-grade pot — approximately $58,000 worth, as well as another $5,000 worth of other marijuana products (edibles, cough syrup, skin patches, waxes) — all perfectly legal in Colorado.
What’s not legal in Colorado is attempting to take pot out of Colorado — whether you’re transporting it yourself, or, in the case of Mr. Wolfe, shipping it out via a third party. Also illegal is possessing so much as a milligram of marijuana in Texas, but more on that in a couple of paragraphs.
The Texas man then carefully vacuum-sealed his nine pounds of pot, boxed it up, and took it to a UPS facility in Pueblo, according to San Angelo Live. UPS flagged the package as “suspicious,” and called the Pueblo Police Department’s Narcotics Unit to take a look.
As of this post, it is unclear what caused UPS to suspect the package was “suspicious,” although UPS employees in Pueblo are undoubtedly used to people trying to sneak pot out of Colorado through their delivery vans and have been trained in what to look for. Perhaps long-haired people with out-of-state license plates on their cars?
Pueblo authorities then contacted authorities back in San Angelo, Texas — the man had written his name and home address on his pot package — to let them know that a huge shipment was coming. When Mr. Wolfe tried to sign for his pot, he was charged with possession with intent to distribute, and was booked into the county jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
According to the Leaf, the federal government has been working with UPS, FedEx, and local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for marijuana being shipped through those delivery channels.
“Both Fed Ex and UPS workers are strongly encouraged to work with law enforcement and report any packages that smell or look like drugs. USPS also encourages others to get involved in the identification of packages containing drugs by offering $50,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of a drug trafficker.”
The Leaf also notes that, in shipping anything — legal or illegal — via a private service such as UPS or FedEx, that you’re giving your package to a third party, who can do with it as they please. However, United States Post Office employees are government employees, meaning that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution means that they can’t search your packages without a search warrant.
Mr. Wolfe is probably wishing he had used USPS to mail his pot from Colorado back to himself in Texas.
[Images courtesy of WTSP]