UPDATED, Friday, January 5, 2017, 8:45 a.m.: The stakes in brokerage have never been higher.
Jonas Heller, a veteran broker most recently with the Agency, was busted driving through Colorado with 52 pounds of marijuana, authorities said.
A Colorado State Trooper pulled over the 46-year-old Venice resident on Interstate 70 in Mesa County just before noon on Dec. 27 and could smell Heller’s massive stash from his driver’s side window, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
The officer noticed Heller’s hands shaking as he pulled his license out of a bag that contained a wad of cash wrapped with a rubber band and also saw a pair of cellphones in the vehicle, the arrest report said. Heller told the trooper he was traveling from California to Aspen, and then planned to go to Denver.
When the trooper asked about the smell, Heller admitted to having “just a little bit” before the trooper asked to search the vehicle, the report said. He then discovered two suitcases in the backseat covered with jackets that were both packed with the weed.
Colorado law allows individuals to legally possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for personal use and has graded penalties for any amount of marijuana above one ounce. Heller’s 52 pounds (an estimate) exceeds the 50 pound lower limit of its highest tier, making it a Level 1 Drug Felony.
Heller, who faces anywhere from eight to 32 years in prison on felony drug charges, was reportedly released on $50,000 bond and will have his next court appearance on Jan. 4.
Agency co-founder and president Billy Rose said Heller is no longer with the company but declined to comment further.
Heller’s profile has since been removed from the Agency’s website, but a cached version of his broker page as of Jan. 2 noted that he splits time between New York and Los Angeles and has done more than $1 billion in sales. The profile lists just one sale at the Agency — the $9.9 million sale of 1822 Westridge Road in Brentwood.
Before the Agency, Heller worked at Westside Estate Agency, where he did some notable deals with Hollywood bigwigs, including the $5.85 million sale of film director Todd Philips’ Malibu home in 2010.
Natalie Hoberman contributed reporting.