Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division top cop Marco Vasquez once in narcotics bureau

Categories: Marijuana

marco vasquez.jpg
Vasquez in 2001.
Reps of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division say they want a positive relationship with the MMJ industry. But news that MMED enforcement chief Marco Vasquez accompanied a SWAT team on a recent grow raid raised concern among some advocates. And they likely won't be reassured when they learn Vasquez was once in the Denver Police narcotics bureau -- meaning he busted people for many activities he'll now be monitoring. And that's not the only controversial element in his DPD past.

Vasquez declined a request for an interview with Westword. But MMED spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait confirms that he was once a part of the DPD narcotics bureau. News reports from the '90s mention him as having served in this role as a sergeant and, later, a lieutenant.

Vasquez's name popped up in a different context following an incident that took place in September 1999. As noted by Alan Prendergast in the 2000 feature "Unlawful Entry," a Denver SWAT team burst into a home on 3738 High Street -- and before they left, a man named Ismael Mena was dead after being struck by eight bullets in his arms, face and chest.

Why? The residence was allegedly being used to sell crack, but cops later admitted the raid, set into motion by a warrant requested by Officer Joseph Bini, had taken place at the wrong address.

Vasquez wasn't among those who fired shots at Mena. So what's his connection? Here's an excerpt from Prendergast's article -- one that mentions a less-than-laudatory mark on his record:

Ten years ago, a Denver police detective named Marco Vasquez was castigated by the Colorado Supreme Court for making a "deceitful promise" to a potential informant. Vasquez had promised to help the informant get a deal on a weapons charge in exchange for his cooperation, even though the detective already knew that the charge had been thrown out for lack of evidence.

In another line of work, such a public tongue-lashing by the state's highest court would be considered a liability, but Vasquez was promoted. He was Officer Bini's commander at the time of the Mena shooting. He has since been transferred to the patrol division downtown, in the wake of allegations by technician Sue Scott that she felt pressured by Vasquez and others to alter reports in the Mena case. (Officials have said that Vasquez's transfer is not a disciplinary action; Scott's complaint is still being investigated.)

The Mena case didn't slow Vasquez's progress through the DPD ranks. He ultimately became the department's deputy chief of administration before leaving to become police chief in Sheridan. Last April, the Denver Post reported
that Vasquez was one of two finalists for the Manager of Safety position, having been selected by a committee led by mayor-elect Michael Hancock.

In the end, Vasquez didn't land the Safety Manager gig. Instead, he wound up at MMED -- and Postlethwait sings his praises.

"We hired the best candidate for the job," she says, describing Vasquez as "a true professional who will be able to do the job he was hired for."

Doesn't his previous work in the narcotics bureau contradict his current duties?

"When he was a narcotics officer, he was dealing with illegal operations," Postlethwait points out. "Now, as a regulator, he is working with an industry that is legal in Colorado. So comparing the two is comparing apples and oranges. Both of these activities are to provide for the public safety, but aside from that, they are completely separate. One was an illegal activity versus a legal activity."

More from our Marijuana archive: "War on drugs' 40th anniversary: Protesters at Skyline Park say policy has failed (PHOTOS)."



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25 comments
420Integrations
420Integrations

 

 This is bad. This guyis the MMED Chief - all investigators report to him, he reports to Dan. Theinvestigators lie, they have been given the power to do whatever they want, saywhat they want and anyone who signed applications waived their rights toeverything.

FYI - MMED is now asking if anyone in the room is recording, if you say yesthen you have to provide a copy to them.

AS OF JULY 1 2011 THERE WILL BE DO AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE FOR A MMC OWNER ORPARTNER.

I hope none of us go to jail, yet the bigger question has now become how tohang on and see this "battle through" with all efforts and moniesgoing into compliance.

There is only one way to discern who in this"industry" is really about patients right vs $$$$.

HOW MANY PATIENTS ARE BEING TOLD BY THEIR MMC'S THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BETRACKED BY BIG BROTHER AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE A INSTRUMENT OF THAT??

CAN YOU PROMISE THAT WITH TRACKING, DAILY LOGS, AND INSPECTOR/INVESTORGATOS UPOUR ASS 1 EVERY 10 DAYS (POTENTINTALLY), THAT YOUR PATINETS INFOMATION ISCONFIDENTAL? THAT THIER FAMILY, JOB, INSURANCE AND OTHER IS SAFE FROM FUTURERAMFICATIONS OF "REGULATIONS"?

MMED has already proven that they are not interested in any patients orapplicants best interest  and/or stateconstitutional rights. They have already went to court against owners who havebeen zoned or banned, assisted on raided, selectively investigated people basedof rumors for months, grossly misrepresented fact and are creating profiles foreach and every individual applicant, investor, locations and more. 

It is totally stupid that any of us continue to fight over some kind of glorythat does not exist. There can not be ego in this movement. We must not bejudgmental and so harsh on each other regardless of our personal issues,different business models or disagreed with business decisions.

You think Corey, Laura and Kathleen are the ones to fight? You better reassessyour energy toward the real enemy - MMED, local law enforcement and FEDs.

Just wait till every MMC location get demonstrators boycotting all efforts tocomply. 

Take a look around, we are on the 3rd generation of dispensary owners. Most ofthe originals have refused to move forward after 1284 was signed, went backunderground, and or continue to press for legalization. How can any of us agreethat Cannabis should be corporate government regulated entities of whichrequires owners and employees to violate federal and state constitutionalrights of their "customers"? THIS IS WRONG!

Why did Wanda and Scott sell their Dispensary if things were so good andregulations were the  way to go. Instead they sold out and moved to thenext thing that was most likely to be least restrictive regarding regulations.

All of Josh S. and all other California owners ass kissing ++++ over the manymonths with law enforcement on all levels clearly has been all for nothing.They may have avoid some serious charges so far but that wont last for ever,plus they are the easiest groups for Vasquez to target.

Boulder dispensary owners like Jill, Jane and others (you know who you are) arealso struggling and would have to admit that any master plan of domination orother has not been realized and things are getting expensive to the point that$99 compliance inspections are being offered. GET REAL......

This industry is a joke.....how can any of us sit back an watch each one of usfall of like files and still sleep at night knowing that even tally that willbe you.

WE MUST UNITE!

Laura, Mason, Bryan, Rob, Wanda, Tim, Kathleen, Jill, Jason, Rev, and theothers who hold influence or are part of this movement need to meet and workthis out now. We must stop going in different directions if there is to be anyprogress in our favor. Can you all move past your pride so we can do this????

WHEN and WHERE – Legalization and some other efforts against State would be a slamdunk if we could pull together, agree on basics and move forward asap.

The Spleen
The Spleen

No shock here -- just another Thug Denver Cop walking the streets. The is NOT just an MMJ issue -- Denver PD (and in surrounding cities) have been out of control for years, killing, lying, raping (that one hasn't received a lot of coverage lately but a Denver cop was busted for raping women he pulled over on false charges....and TWO Aurora DARE officers got busted with child porn -- one of 'em even took the porn with him to a school) and beating innocent civilians bloody.

Denver PD and its officer's union are the most violent and deadly street gang to ever stroll the sidewalks of this beautiful city. Their lawless brutality is a stain on Denver. 

This cop has already proven that he will murder an innocent man in front of his own children (do you recall the details of the Mena story? It is sad and full of horrifying idiocy) and then lie about it to keep his job.

Do NOT trust this man in any way -- if you have to deal with him as part of the DOR process, videotape the entire thing with a remote storage device so they cannot take your phone away and destroy the evidence. Do not turn your back on this man or leave him alone with employees, loved ones or family pets. You will regret it if you do....and being out of compliance will be the least of your sadness.

Watch your backs, people. This man is a liar and a killer.

PoliceState
PoliceState

We are living in a Police State.

This is just one of countless examples. Since 9-11 the domestic spying apparatus has increased exponentially. In this case, a thriving medical cannabis scene that was helping thousands of patients and helping to create the only new growth industry in Colorado has been decimated by big money and corrupt police/government. At least some of the discord in the medical scene comes from "agent provocateurs."

Vegans, home-schoolers, people who don't like Flouride, people who don't like War, people who think we should stop blowing the tops of our mountains off, are just a few of the groups that have been the target of government infiltration and spying. Even Nuns who protest War in silence were spied on.

Check out the following ACLU link with an interactive state-by-state map showing more than a hundred of outrageous examples of government/law enforcement spying on law-abiding AMERICAN citizens. And please pass this on -- not to freak everybody out -- but to let them know what's really going on in this country before it is too late. People need to be made aware of the truth. When the net that has been cast is this humongous, the real threats are lost in all the worthless information or intelligence. And we are definitely not safer when we give up our constitutional rights.

http://www.aclu.org/spy-files/...

PR420
PR420

This is the same agency and regulations that the Safer language is based on. Child support try a drug felony Scott.

JoJo
JoJo

One can only hope this guy can't stand Josh Stanley and Budding Health.

wtfk
wtfk

Sounds like a perfect fascist for the Medical Marijuana CRIMINAL Enforcement Division.

PR420
PR420

This man tried to force other officers to lie on a botched raid that killed an innocent man. He has been in several officer related shootings and has falsified testimony in multiple cases. He has the"drug warrior" mentality and cannot be an objective professional in medical marijuana. He will lie and intimidate. He has no place holding the life's of business owners and patient access in the balance. 

CALL THE MMED NOW DEMAND THAT HE RESIGN! 303-205-8421

Forestgump
Forestgump

This law enforcement officer covers up a murder of a innocent non white--  that came from the result of a bad raid ---and he was promoted and now sent to be the lead enforcement officer in MMED?  

anonymouse
anonymouse

The "good moral character" clause only applies to owner/operators it seems.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Comparing apples and oranges.  OK.  Let's see...  They are both fruit.  They both grow on trees.  They are about the same size.  They would both feel about the same if a police officer hurled one at your face before cuffing you and throwing you head first into the back seat of his car.

Yea sure.  Completely different.

Guest
Guest

I should have gone into police work.  Being rewarded for fuck-ups sounds so much nicer than having to be responsible and accountable for my work, and to suffer the consequences when I do wrong.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Everyone who is going along with this violation of our constitutional rights deserves everything they are going to get.  Law Enforcement can win the war on drugs if they get everyone to sign up to a database and allow the police to track them.  The MMED is Colorado's best pre-crime division and they will be there to arrest you before you can possibly commit a crime and if you signed up you waived all the constitutional rights that protect you it will make for a "more efficient use of law enforcement resources." 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Goodness how could I forget Josh?  We do not work with people who say they know of black bags of cartel/mob cash. period. 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 Also--Mason should have withdrawn from the Legalize 2012 debates because he and Brian and Steve Fox CONFIRMED WITH THE TITLE BOARD last week--that they DID NOT HAVE "LEGALIZATION" language. Their (DPA/MPP/SAFER/Sensible/law enforcement) language... does NOT LEGALIZE cannabis. The whole point was to discuss legalization 2012 language. SAFER and Sensible FILED AND SET THEIR TITLE to NOT BE LEGALIZATION. Why come at all? ESPECIALLY AFTER YOU ALREADY FILED AND YOUR LANGUAGE IS NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION AND IS NOT EVEN LEGALIZATION LANGUAGE....unless the goal was to disrupt the process of THE LOCALS DISCUSSING language that really legalizes cannabis for as many as humanly possible. I publicly asked Mason to not to use the deceptive marketing when they ask people for their signatures. You don't get to tell the title board it's not legalization and then walk up to a Colorado voter and say--hey do you want to legalize pot for recreation?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Loved everything you posted, but am thrown off at trying to get unity with people willing to sell out patients and caregivers.  I do feel that the people on the panel could unite, minus Mason, who already filed the law enforcement language.

Wanda's "old" patient book was found in Denver next to a dumpster.  She signed away her rights to play hardball.  She helped write hb1284 and supported it.  So did Brian/Sensible.  She hasn't donated money to the lawsuit that needs to be filed on behalf of PATIENTS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

Todays Wanda quotes say it all:  " Without SAFER, Westword nor anyone else would have come or cared"  so at least Wanda believes the audience was SAFER.---and I read two others who also thought that--

and

"CTI can't raise money for any lawsuit of anything else nor will anyone back them. Why are you dealing with them? PLEASE quit giving them any press."

Stop giving press to the ONLY group keeping patients aware of their rights and when they are getting bashed  (FOR FREE!)....I though you were a professional business woman?   oh so bad for business, Wanda. You see patients have NOT been getting email updates from you or anyone in the 'industry'.  Nor Mason/SAFER nor Brian/Sensible.  ONLY CTI.

It's the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project that has has a REALLY HARD TIME raising money for the PATIENTS and CAREGIVERS lawsuit that will be filed.  Most of the REASON we have not been able to raise money is because business applicants per hb1284 do NOT CARE ENOUGH ABOUT PATIENT or CAREGIVER rights. 

Only 5 hb1284 applicants have donated, again NOTHING FROM WANDA.  WANDA doesn't have  $4.20 for PATIENT RIGHTS.  And neither does Jill or Jane.  Say that again to yourself and realize how F'ed up that is.  Center owners do NOT HAVE $4.20 to donate to PATIENTS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS LAWSUIT.  To be fair-why would Wanda donate money to a lawsuit that challenges something she helped write and supported?  (hb1284).

As far as working with Mason and Brian, Laura has a copy of the first email she sent out to Mason in May of 2010, telling him of our 2012 intent.  Further she has another email to Mason in Aug or Sept. inviting him to work with us and asking him how much he wanted in salary.  I do not know what could be more generous, as none of us work for pay.  Mason did not respond.  Mason did not attend the 2012 kick off in Nov 2010.  And now Mason and Brian have already filed their language a YEAR EARLY.  There is nothing that can be changed or corrected

It is not Rev Baker, Laura, Kathleen, Paul, Rico or Tim that caused this divide.  We are all looking to protect freedom, patients, caregivers and the constitution.  You can't unite with the SAME people putting up the barriers on our rights and freedoms. 

Ecodude
Ecodude

Got that right, wtfk.  From the name to the players, I think they've made their agenda crystal clear.

Scott Greene
Scott Greene

so not true... i am just an employee and I owe a small amount of $ to child support and i was told that they consider that stuff be "bad moral character"

Truth
Truth

nobody deserves jail time for cannabis you fucking hypocrite.

970
970

Scott Greene, owner/operator=employee. Anonymouse was referring to the fact that it does not seem that MMED employees are held to the same high standard that we are.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

You are right nobody deserves jail time for cannabis, but they do deserve to go to jail for selling out their patients constitutional rights.  

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