Just because Coloradan’s can legally purchase their marijuana from dispensaries now, doesn’t mean that dealers have stopped dealing and buyers have stopped buying from them. There are several reasons as to why this is still the case – a major factor being the taxes and overall higher prices of flower sold in dispensaries, pushing cannabis users to find a cheaper source. For the most part, these types of “black market” transactions between buyers and sellers are done quickly and in discreet locations, however, within the past few weeks in and near Fort Collins, there have been multiple scenarios of marijuana meet-ups gone incredibly wrong.
During the evening hours on Sunday, January 24, both directions of I-25 by the Prospect Road exit were shut down for about an hour while law enforcement searched for suspects that allegedly played a role in a weed deal that did not go as planned. After talking over Craigslist, two parties had originally agreed to meet near the area of Horsetooth and Timberline in Fort Collins where a “donation” was to be exchanged for marijuana. Upon meeting, a disagreement erupted over the amount of said donation, ultimately leading to a suspect brandishing a gun from one of the vehicles before leaving the scene. About an hour later, a report came in from Longmont that was almost identical to the situation that had just occurred in Fort Collins. A man claimed that he was robbed of his marijuana at gunpoint after he had offered to exchange it for a donation. Once learning that the vehicle description was matching in both of these robbery cases, police were on the lookout and ended up spotting the car near mile marker 266 on I-25. Law enforcement investigated the occupants in the vehicle and Joshua Kelch, Andrew Murillo, Jesse Deen and Jahmela Banks were each charged with aggravated robbery of a controlled substance once everything was all said and done. Kelch, Deen and Banks are reportedly residents of Cheyenne. The interstate reopened around 10 p.m. that night.
More recently, during the first week of February, three men were arrested in Loveland following another marijuana transaction that went awry. The suspects, James Bergeron, 21, Michael Langley, 20, and Shelby Girten, 20, all from Cheyenne, drove to north Loveland attempting to purchase a pound of weed from a supplier. Investigators say that Langley tried to take the supply of pot without paying for it, even threatening that he had a gun. However, rather than pulling out a gun, Langley instead took a bat and smashed out one of the windows of the supplier’s vehicle. Bergeron reportedly smashed another, before the driver fled for help. The suspects took off on a chase after the victim. Officers were dispatched around 9:40 p.m. to tend to the disturbance, and made contact with the suspect’s vehicle over near 18th Street and Albany Avenue. They located the supplier near Albany and Boise avenues. Bergeron, Girten and Langley were all arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery, a Class 3 felony, as well as Class 5 felony menacing and misdemeanor criminal mischief.
It’s unfortunate that incidents like these sometimes occur in our community, but even with legalization taking place, I don’t foresee the black market for marijuana going away any time soon.