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Pot Dealer Sues TV Network for Defamation

A legal marijuana dealer in Colorado is suing the Univision TV network for splashing his picture in internationally broadcast news stories identifying him as a Mexican pop star’s drug-money mule.

Joel Camarena claims in court papers that he’s just a legal Colorado pot proprietor — and that he was never arrested in a Dallas airport carrying $100,000 in cocaine-tainted bills in a backpack, as Univision reported.

So Camarena filed a $10,000 slander suit in Manhattan Supreme Court this week against the media giant, saying his marijuana business has suffered since he was painted by the network as someone who deals in cocaine.

Univision ran Camarena’s picture, the suit says, because he shares a name with the man actually accused of the crime — who is 20 years his senior, looks nothing like him, and works for crooner Gerardo Ortiz, the suit alleges.

“Rather than conducting the slightest bit of research, [Univision] thrust Joel into the story by misidentifying him as the person arrested without so much as attempting to contact Joel,” the court papers charge. “Joel and J.C. have zero physical similarities in their appearance and, in fact, Joel is twenty years younger than J.C.”

Embarrassingly, the blunder occurred even though authorities disseminated a mugshot of the man actually charged.

“Univision’s reckless reporting has left our client’s professional and personal reputation in shambles,” his attorney Daniel Szalkiewicz told The Post. “Examining the photos and video, it’s clear they are two very different men. Unfortunately, Univision’s desire to sensationalize the story overcame their duty to accurately report, leaving our client to pick up the pieces after their mistake.”

Univision did not respond to a request for comment.

“Univision’s reckless reporting has left our client’s professional and personal reputation in shambles,” his attorney Daniel Szalkiewicz told The Post. “Examining the photos and video, it’s clear they are two very different men. Unfortunately, Univision’s desire to sensationalize the story overcame their duty to accurately report, leaving our client to pick up the pieces after their mistake.”

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