Marijuana: Carl Gruber says his career is in a tailspin since Boulder bust for flying in pot

Thumbnail image for carl gruber mug shot cropped.jpg
Carl Gruber.
Last January, private pilot Carl Gruber took off from a California airport headed for Boulder with 55 pounds of marijuana loaded into his tiny plane. But instead of friendly co-smugglers waiting for Gruber at the Boulder County Airport, the Boulder County Drug Task Force and agents from the Department of Homeland Security were there to greet him and his payload.

His excuse? According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Gruber was flying the herb in to Colorado for a medical marijuana dispensary -- something he reported knew wasn't legal but didn't think was a big deal.

Now, we aren't saying there are no shady dispensaries out there still buying herb from out of state. But apparently, Gruber -- a California resident -- didn't read our medical marijuana laws, which require all medicine to be grown by Colorado dispensaries, before using it an an excuse. Accordingly, the judge didn't buy this reasoning when handing Gruber a $10,000 fine and two years' probation.

"I think you were dealing," Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill said at the trial, according to the Daily Camera. "I'm not convinced this was a benevolent transfer of medical marijuana to Colorado. I hear that explanation and my eyebrows go way up."

Gruber is said to be "destitute" -- unable to work as a professional pilot, since his plane was seized by Homeland Security. As we reported back in January, Gruber is an experienced pilot who races biplanes in his spare time. Below is a photo of Gruber on a more legal flight in 2005.

Thumbnail image for carl gruber flying.jpg
Carl Gruber racing in 2005.
Since his arrest, Gruber said he had to sell his home and now lives in a trailer in California. Due to his lack of finances, Gruber's fine was reduced from $25,000 to $10,000. Prosecutors based the original fine on the estimated $165,000 ($3K per pound) value of the cannabis he was transporting.

As for his lack of jail time, Gruber was initially charged with possession of between five and one hundred pounds of herb, but that was pleaded down to a felony distribution charge for less than five pounds. Prosecutor Karen Peters said that because Gruber didn't appear to be using any of the marijuana himself, prosecutors decided to focus on punishing him monetarily. He'll also be on probation for the next two years, with the judge allowing him to serve in California.

"From my understanding of the pre-sentence investigation, he's not an addict -- he's more of a businessman," Peters told the Daily Camera. "I think the focus should be on taking away the profit."

In other words, if you're using marijuana, you're a criminal deserving of jail time. If you're merely providing that marijuana, you're just a shady businessman.

Note: the original version of this story incorrectly listed Karen Peters as a federal prosecutor. It has since been changed.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Is Denver adding charges to keep minor pot cases alive after Amendment 64?" and "Stoner MacGyver marijuana product review: Puffit personal vaporizer by Discreet Vape."

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31 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "...before using it an an excuse."

Still stoned, eh Billy?

Paul Andrew Rennix
Paul Andrew Rennix

I feel bad for anyone who gets caught up in our legal system over this plant. The feds love when they get to take a plane.

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams

no i don't the new laws allow certain things and by those laws i say fine but when you purposely violate them then pay the price. but shady come on. with the prescriptions that will help you eat or curve pain only side effects death maybe failing liver, pot is better then most legal drugs so stop it with putting people down because you don't agree

Ehron Moats
Ehron Moats

Guess he should have learned to Read instead of how to count.

Justin Novak
Justin Novak

He knew it was illegal and he did it anyway, nope don't feel sorry for him.We all do stuff that could get us in trouble and we must take responsibility for our actions and be willing to accept the consequences.

Andy Jackson
Andy Jackson

Fuck no! I could be flying pot everywhere too, I know better!!!

RevRayGreen
RevRayGreen

Gas Station Weed Makes Young Minds Bleed ....Just Say Nope to FDA Dope say yes to cannabis...

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

Prescription drugs kill over 200,000 Americans every year-- even when taken as directed and not abused. The drug war is all about preventing people from using the non-toxic alternative, marijuana.

Partnership for a Drug Free AmericaSources of Funding from 1988-91Extracted from Federal Tax Returns(figures are approximate)

Pharmaceutical Firms

J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trusts --- $1.1 millionDu Pont --- 125,000Proctor and Gamble Fund --- 120,000Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation --- 115,000Johnson & Johnson --- 100,000Merck Foundation --- 85,000Hoffman-LaRoche --- 75,000

Tobacco and Liquor Firms

Phillip Morris --- 125,000Anheuser-Busch --- 100,000RJ Reynolds --- 100,000American Brands --- 100,000

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, criminally insane, totally corrupt, or a Donkey.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

I'll bet there isn't anyone who buys it by the pound that's paying $3,000.

jose257
jose257

The WTO says that if something is legal locally, it is illegal to disallow its import.  The prosecutor went lightly because Gruber could have won if he fought it, though it probably would have cost more than $10K to find a lawyer sufficiently smart.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "before using it an an excuse."  

Stutter much?

"Federal prosecutor Karen Peters said" 

She's a Boulder County prosecutor.

"pleaded down to a felony distribution charge for less than five pounds"

Still not legal under A64 ... and will result in a LIFETIME revocation of his Pilot's License under FAA regulations.

*** Regulation Works! ***

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... and the WW editors are still stoned nearly 24 hours after the error(s) were made.

Who said getting baked doesn't make you stupid?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ehron Moats  ... Stupid Stoners didn't even READ Amendment 64 before they voted for it.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Justin Novak  ... so citizens deserve to be arrested and criminally prosecuted for marijuana, eh?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@malcolmkyle16 

A64 = a continuation of Criminal Prohibition against 10s of THOUSANDS of marijuana users and growers in Colorado.

.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey  It wasn't a Federal case  nor a Federal Prosecutor, nor a Federal Judge -- it was a Boulder County prosecution.

Billy Breathes was stoned again when he failed to comprehend the story he lifted from the Daily Camera.

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay  I think I just read the words "Federal prosecutor Karen Peters" and jumped to conclusions. Probably more my comprehension problem, I was stoned.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident -- Who is "Prolly"?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... odd that the DA and Court allowed him to promote that lame excuse without demanding the name(s) of his accomplices and co-conspirators who owned/operated this supposed dispensary.

It would put said dispensary in clear violation of the REGULATIONS that are so worshiped by some, and revoke any dispensary license ... if the place actually existed.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey @DonkeyHotay 

Karen Peters is not a federal prosecutor.

Stoners are easily misled ...

e.g. A64, and Billy's specious story on TSA screening.

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