Buried cash. DEA moles. Sibling rivalries. Skydiving planes. Armed robberies. Cocaine. Partying. Fast cars. And an exploding hash lab. A group of college friends took advantage of Colorado’s medical marijuana laws to create one of the longest, most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history. Under the guise of running medical marijuana grow houses, the group trafficked thousands of pounds of pot out of state for sale on the black market—and raked in cash. So much that it filled up their closets and offices. They threw bags of money with GPS trackers off cliffs in the Rocky Mountains with the intention of picking them up later.
The good times couldn’t last. When a drug mule flipped, the whole scheme came tumbling down. Within months, SWAT team officers and DEA agents kicked down the doors of 32 individuals around Denver. In the ensuing plea deals and manhunts—what has become known as “Operation Golden Go-Fer”—the Feds realized that the smugglers had redefined what it means to be a criminal organization in the era of legal weed and that the marijuana black market is not just evolving, but thriving. Welcome to The Syndicate.
What we’re reading (and listening to) - Business Insider
On Something: Pot Smuggling 2.0 - Colorado Public Radio
How Legalization Supports The Illicit Pot Market - Weed Week
The Five: A intense BBC drama, a podcast with Minnesota twist and lush new music - Minnesota Public Radio
Skydiving With One of Denver’s Largest Marijuana Smugglers - 5280 Magazine