The DEA's Disorganized Thoughts on Organized Crime

The Drug Enforcement Administration's top man in Colorado says the state's lax drug laws have led to an increase in organized crime:

"I think they believe it's a good market and I think the case could be made that it is a good market," said Jeffrey Sweetin, the DEA special agent in charge of Colorado.

Sweetin said it's in part because of Denver's law making marijuana legal in small amounts and a state-wide initiative to legalize medical marijuana.

It's not clear how a law that Denver police have been ignoring, and that it any case applies only to possession of small quantities for personal use, would attract drug traffickers to Colorado. The medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 2000, likewise does not allow distribution, only cultivation and possession of limited amounts by registered patients. Maybe Sweetin is suggesting that Colorado has been flooded by pot dealers because patients authorized by the state to grow and use medical marijuana nevertheless are relying on the black market. That would increase overall demand because without the law those patients would have had to...rely on the black market. Later in the article he suggests that Colorado is not the final destination for all the drugs allegedly entering the state:

"People here think they're so far from the border, they're insulated from it," he said. "They're not insulated from it." 

Colorado has long been an ideal location for drug dealers.

"We're really the hub of the western interstate system." Sweetin said. "If you couple that also with we're an airline hub, a major airline hub, we're a bus hub, we're a train hub; it's really the perfect location to trans-ship from."

And the medical marijuana law, coupled with a local decriminalization measure that had no practical effect, somehow has made Colorado's location...more perfect, I guess. Is it too much to expect reporters to challenge drug warriors when they spout nonsense like this? It's not even a matter of questioning current policy—just following up with a question or two that would elucidate what they're claiming. Something sharp and to the point, like "Huh?"

Update: Going beyond "huh?," Colorado Confidential asked the DEA for evidence to support Sweetin's assertion that organized crime/drug trafficking is on the rise in Colorado:

No hard data were cited in the Channel 4 story regarding the reported increase in organized crime, and there was a good reason, according to a drug agency spokesman.

"I don't think there's any numbers I can give," said DEA media representative Mike Turner about the crime connection to legalization efforts. "It's just that the ongoing cases we're seeing I think reflect the fact that that's what's going on."

[Thanks to Mason Tvert for the tip.]

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  • ||

    And in homage to this drug subculture they named their football stadium Mile High.

  • ||

    Is it too much to expect reporters to challenge drug warriors when they spout nonsense like this?

    QFT!
    I can't believe the drivel that gets printed because some drug warrior spewed it.

  • ||

    He is right, and I am sure all the experts agree. It is not because of any material effect these laws promote, but the fact that they send the wrong message that drug abuse is OK. This no doubt makes it a good location for the pushers to go to.

  • Episiarch||

    Is it too much to expect reporters to challenge drug warriors when they spout nonsense like this?

    Considering the laziness of the average reporter who can barely muster up questions for politicians, uh, yes.

  • duster||

    Is it too much to expect reporters to challenge drug warriors when they spout nonsense like this?

    Yes. Yes it is.

  • duster||

    Dang! Beat me to it by seconds!

    Well, at least I can now credit Jaunita for that hilarious bit of sarcasm.

  • ||

    Is it too much to expect reporters to challenge drug warriors when they spout nonsense like this?

    They (DEA) are the experts on drugs, who are we to disagree?

  • Elemenope||

    Well, at least I can now credit Juanita for that hilarious bit of sarcasm.

    You clearly do not know Juanita.

  • Elemenope||

    They (DEA) are the experts on drugs, who are we to disagree?

    What on Earth made you think they're experts?

  • ||

    War on Drugs. Idiotic statements by immoral public tit suckers. Nonsense, of course.

    Hi Juanita. I've been missing your performance art. Just remember to avoid going over the top.

  • ||

    "If you couple that also with we're an airline hub, a major airline hub, we're a bus hub, we're a train hub; it's really the perfect location to trans-ship from."

    He forgot "hippy magnet."

  • ||

    Reporters who ask real questions, and demand real answers, are not invited back.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Harumph! For a feed site called feedburner, your RSS feed can be really, really slow!

  • ||

    Harumph! For a feed site called feedburner, your RSS feed can be really, really slow!

    Does this mean I have to go to another room and DRINK? I'd like a ruling from the judges.

  • ||

    Harumph! For a feed site called feedburner, your RSS feed can be really, really slow!

    Does this mean I have to go to another room and DRINK? I'd like a ruling from the judges.


    I vote Nay. This is not an attack on the abilities of the websites authors to adhere to Greek logic. If anything it's a nostalgic hat tip to the old server squirrels.

  • ||

    "Colorado has long been an ideal location for drug dealers."

    Damn. Why didn't I know about this when I lived in Denver? And to think I went to Miami and PR to get the good stuff.
    Shouldn't complain seeing that now I am closer to Colombia.

  • ||

    Wow, I show up sparingly around here and get lucky enough to have a Juanita sighting. What a treat.

  • Kolohe||

    "We're really the hub of the western interstate system." Sweetin said. "If you couple that also with we're an airline hub, a major airline hub, we're a bus hub, we're a train hub; it's really the perfect location to trans-ship from."



    Well, the solution is obvious then.

    A couple of JDAM's on the Eisenhower Tunnel should nip this thing in the bud., so to speak. I mean, it's a war, right?

    And I already wouldn't rely on the airport's baggage system, if I was transporting anything of value.

  • ||

    They (DEA) are the experts on drugs, who are we to disagree?

    Stoners are experts on drugs, too, Juanita (or is that MariJuanita -- cause your posts read like you're high). So when a stoner starts talking about how "That orange is REALLY really orange, man, it's blowing my mind," we should pay close attention because they know their subject matter?

    Frankly, that would be a more interesting conversation than listening to the DEA.

  • ||

    Problem: "Black Market Marijuana Good Cash Crop" due to conflict in state and federal laws towards the substance. The feds have had over 70 years of playing the marijuana political game with the ball in their court longer than they deserve. After all, until the 1930's their was no marijuana problem. The "Problem" was created by our government simply to enable them to deport the mexicans who flooded the southwest after the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The, anti-marijuana laws, are not nor do they have anything to do with the health and well being of the human body. It has grown like a cancerous tumor from the "Reefer Madness" propaganda film to the get hard on drugs stance Nixon took towards marijuana in 1970. Legalize medical marijuana now at the very least. Truth is it is wrong to force the people to only have a choice between addictive and fatal drugs for personal use. We should repeal the Marijuana Prohibition act altogether. Just imagine the financial boon from all the products that come from the cannabis plant. Even fuel!!! LEGALIZE CANNABIS NOW!!!

  • ||

    It's those stupid fools of voters, see the mess they've made because they think that a few grams of weed is not enough to jail somebody for? Like they think the police work for THEM or something!

    NOW who has to clean up after them! I tell ya, voters shouldn't be allowed to vote!

  • JLE||

    Skewed priorities + greed + ignorant hard-headedness = people are absurd.

    I hope the weed is good in Colorado, since I'm headed there this weekend. I'll investigate...

  • ||

    "...ongoing cases we're seeing I think reflect the fact that that's what's going on."

    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  • ||

    Just think of the fun the DEA agents had at the bar getting drunk while watching the 6 o-clock news. Seeing the stupid reporter scratch their neck on the DEA cargo pant zippers. More commonly known as "DEA Porn". Now that's power!

  • ||

    Every cop in America thinks:

    my city is a major terrorist target

    my city is a major drug-trafficing hub

    my city is a high-priority nuclear target

    i am an above average cop

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