Coast To Coast Marijuana-By-Mail Scheme Goes South

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Jay Brockman
As I've often written, as long as the federal government continues to make it impossible for California's biggest cash crop to find legal customers, the harvest will inevitably end up on the black market. Because it remains illegal for Golden State growers to export their plants to other states where it is legal to smoke cannabis for medical or recreational purposes under state law, a lot of folks unload their plants the old fashioned way--illegally.

The latest example: a coast-to-coast marijuana smuggling operation based out of San Diego that allegedly used the U.S. Postal Service to do the heavy lifting.

On Dec. 11, according to a report by City News Service, Chris Gillen, 25, a resident of Pacific Beach, California, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of money laundering charge for his role in a "a lucrative marijuana distribution business" that used the U.S. mail system to deliver pot in packages to customers on the east coast, where a pound of pot sells for $6000 compared to $2000 here in California.

Gillen was arrested back in May after a yearlong investigation by both the U.S. Postal Serivce that sent deliveries via the U.S. Postal Service. Chris Gillen, 25, was arrested in May at his home in the 4900 block of La Jolla Boulevard, following a year-long investigation by the U.S. Postal Service and the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance. Authorities figured out what Gillen was up to back in July 2012, and began tracking the packages as they headed east, as well as money coming back west. Ultimately, they seized approximately 150 pounds of pot as well as more than 400 plants in a warehouse in San Diego.

Also involved in the scheme was Gillen's brother, Kyle, and their friends Matthew Schneider, Chris Huntsman and Mitchell Morris, all of whom, CNS reports, have pleaded guilty to both money laundering and drug charges. The entire, unfortunate crew is scheduled to learn their fate at a sentencing hearing next month.

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Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com.



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