Ex-dealer shares how legalized pot affected illegal drug trafficking business in SA

Colorado, California recognized as growing the world's best marijuana

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SAN ANTONIO – The distance from San Antonio to Colorado is 750 miles.

It’s a trek a former San Antonio marijuana dealer would regularly make for personal reasons and major business opportunities.

“Before I ever dealt with high-grade marijuana, somebody was asking me to smoke with them,” said the dealer, who asked not be identified. “You're talking about a gram for $20, and at that point in time, I’d rather not waste money like that if I could get a whole bunch (for cheap). But then I understood the meaning of quality over quantity when I smoked the high-grade marijuana.” 

DEA Agent Dante Sorianello said the marijuana being produced in Colorado and California is probably the best that’s ever been grown in the world to date, and traffickers can make an immense profit.

The dealer said he started selling Mexican-grown marijuana -- widely considered as low-cost marijuana -- at the age of 14 to combat poverty.

RELATED: San Antonio-area doctor plans to open medical marijuana dispensary

Years later, he said he shifted his low-grade marijuana vendors to individuals who possessed medical cards from nearby states such as Colorado and California to gain access to high-grade marijuana.  

“The weed that I have seen come from Colorado (or) Cali is probably some of the best weed I’ve ever seen in my life,” the dealer said. “You can take a pound of trash weed and still not even make $500, $600, $700. Where you can take a quarter-pound of high-grade marijuana and make that three times over with no problem.”

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, with Colorado following suit four years later.

Currently, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use only, with eight states, including California and Colorado, for recreational use.

The dealer said drug trafficking on major highways to and from the two states was used as the last resort, but needed at times to keep law enforcement officials guessing his next move.

His major source of trafficking: overnight shipping.

“Before they started to catch on, it was pretty easy. I may send it to a vacant house and pay someone $1,000 or $1,500. They’re going to live over there for the next week or so until (the marijuana shipment) shows up,” the dealer said. “I had (vendors) put weed in candles. If (law enforcement) don’t know it’s coming, you get it, (then) you move it. Simple.”

The dealer said because more states have legalized marijuana, the accessibility to high-grade marijuana slowly affected his profits.

He then turned to trafficking in states east of Texas, where high-grade marijuana is not easily available.

The dealer said he was caught with a couple ounces of marijuana in Florida in a routine traffic stop by local enforcement on his way to a make a sale.

After incarceration, he turned to a local counseling program to help him “stay level headed” and mentor him while in school.

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