Ex-DEA Agent Patrick Moen Goes From Busting Pot Industry to Working For It

| by Allison Geller

The Drug Enforcement Agency is less than happy with Patrick Moen, who left their ranks to work at a private equity firm that invests in the marijuana industry.

“I think he doesn’t represent the hard work of every other agent and the DEA,” DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told on Tuesday.

Moen joined law enforcement at the age of 20 and worked busting heroin and meth rings in Oregon. Now he works for Privateer Holdings, which invests in marijuana-related businesses like Leafly, a pot reviewing website. Moen’s new role is to help the business comply with state and federal regulations (though marijuana is still illegal on the federal level).

“It is disappointing when law enforcement officers, sworn to uphold the laws of the United States with honor, courage and integrity, abandon their commitment to work in an industry involved in trafficking marijuana,” Seattle-based DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Barnes told Reuters.

Some have accused Moen of being an opportunist, such as Mitchell Stern, owner of Burning Bush Nurseries, a San Francisco-based marijuana grower.

“This man made a career of putting people like me, my friends and my co-workers in jail,” Stern said in an interview. “I don’t think he’s in this to right a wrong. He’s in this to make money for his own personal benefit.”

In a December interview with the Seattle Times, Moen said he had been mulling the switch to the private sector for some time, as he was ”looking for new challenges” and was frustrated with “the general dysfunction of the federal government.”

“Over the course of years I realized that the targeting of marijuana was not an effective use of resources. There was no ‘aha’ moment. It was a steady evolution involving discussions with friends and colleagues,” he told the paper.

He also confirmed that he has used marijuana, but not “in the last 20 years.” He said he doesn’t need to be “concurrent consumer” to work with Privateer Holdings.

"I saw this as an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team that's helping to create this industry, " Moen told Reuters. "I don't really feel like it's the other side."

Sources: FoxNews.comReuters, Seattle Times