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How Drug Trafficking Actually Works — From Heroin to Cocaine | How Crime Works | Insider

Mar 07, 2024
My name is Dr. Adi Jaffe and I am a former meth dealer who sold hundreds of pounds of meth, and that's how

crime

works

. Sleeping in bed with a meth pipe next to you and a gun to your right and with hundreds of thousands of

drug

s in your closet is an insane end point. It is not normal. It was like my life had a complete reset. I mean, I had to go straight to the beginning. I started selling meth because my clients wanted access to it, so I started buying very small quantities from street dealers I knew personally.
how drug trafficking actually works from heroin to cocaine how crime works insider
So, one eight ball, weighing 3½ grams, at a time. The labs I saw in Southern California were a joke compared even to the makeshift labs Walter had in the RV in "Breaking Bad." They used pots and pans. They were using cups and glasses. It seemed like a more typical idea of ​​a messy kitchen you'd see in someone addicted to meth than an actual lab. They rarely had beakers or glass flasks or anything like that. The easiest way to describe the smell of a meth lab is an incredibly strong ammonia smell that will literally feel like it could burn the hairs inside your nose, right?
how drug trafficking actually works from heroin to cocaine how crime works insider

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how drug trafficking actually works from heroin to cocaine how crime works insider...

So you could tell the moment you walked into a room where someone was making meth. Sometimes you would cough right away if you didn't have a mask, or your eyes would water. Even the smaller labs really took care to put these little types of hoods or fans right above their main reactions to get the gases out, and the cook and then one or two people helping him would make sure that this was done. So Airbnbs and short-term rentals are incredibly easy places to set up these things, because really all you need is a day or two of setup, fabrication, and teardown, and you're good to go.
how drug trafficking actually works from heroin to cocaine how crime works insider
You wouldn't really leave much of a mark, as long as someone had enough time to air out the space and the smell was no longer there. The other amazing thing about using things like Airbnb is that you can move from place to place, which is then very difficult to detect, because even if a neighbor notices that there's a pipe in a window or something, you know, if it's just there for a day or two and then leaves, no one would know. All the labs I saw were locally here in Los Angeles for a long time, but when serious raids started happening in the late 90s and early 2000s at

drug

labs all over Southern California, people started moving them out of the city. , and they gradually got closer and closer to some of the supply sources they had for some of the ingredients, right?
how drug trafficking actually works from heroin to cocaine how crime works insider
So for a time it was well known in farming communities that supplies of nitrogen-rich fertilizers had to be protected because methamphetamine dealers and manufacturers would go and steal pounds and pounds, if not truckloads, of the substance, and then they brought back. to be able to go make your goal. The people I knew that made it had at least one, I'll call it a lab, but what it really was was a scooped-back truck or a full-on camper. The idea, in a way, is that if you drive, no one will be able to detect the fumes. The only thing that many forgot is that when you drive nothing is stable.
A handful of them had to experience flare-ups and, as far as I know, an actual explosion. Everyone I saw making meth used the ephedrine method. And one of the first things you have to do is take the ephedrine out of the Sudafed pills, right? And so then that ephedrine progressively gets into additional chemical interactions. In the end, what you end up with is essentially a big pot, in most of these, of a clear liquid that contains the solvents, and then the next step is to dry that product to get the final powder that it is. what everyone consumes.
These were very detailed, very protected recipes that were guarded by this cook with the same kind of zeal that you hear about Coca-Cola guarding the original recipe from him, right? Because this was his influence. The secret was to limit people's knowledge of how to do what would otherwise be replicable. In a world of drug addiction and

crime

and a kind of underbelly of society, these cooks had prestige. Smurf was the name given to essentially a methamphetamine manufacturing runner. Most of the small merchants he knew employed 10, 15, or even 20 Smurfs. So they would go to the stores and buy the bleach, steal anything that was necessary for manufacturing, especially going to pharmacy after pharmacy after pharmacy to get individual packets of Sudafed.
The idea of ​​being able to go for a run, get some ingredients, work for a couple of days and make $10,000 or $15,000 was very appealing. And that's why everyone was always trying to get a good recipe. There is absolutely a connection between the cooking method of the meth itself, the impurities that exist afterward, and

actually

the quality of the meth itself. So when I started in the "meth game" in the late 1990s, there was this lore about P2P meth at the time. That was what everyone wanted. That meth had a blue tint to it, so everyone was always looking for blue meth, which was what was so ironic about "Breaking Bad" when they started featuring this blue meth story supposedly created by Walter.
That's what I knew was the best meth you could get from stories from my dealing days. The demand among my clients grew. My distributor couldn't supply me anymore, so what ended up happening is that we were going to do deals together. And we ended up going together to meet her dealer, a woman named Ella who lived in downtown Los Angeles in a huge warehouse with 12 other people. At the time, a pound cost about $10,000 or so, so they were pretty expensive pounds. I would go in and buy all the product I could. I'd walk away with a pound, a pound and a half if they'd really done a great manufacturing job, so they'd have about $15,000 left over from me.
There was a hierarchy. They always paid me in money and it was always in cash. Once he got paid, you could tell there were a couple more people who were

actually

getting money, and the rest of the people were literally relying on free supplies of meth to get the job done. The labs I knew about weren't robbed. Drugs came quickly and went quickly, because they needed to be distributed at the time they were manufactured. What happened much more often was that drug dealers were robbed, and then the drugs were delivered. Because they are going to have a supply with them.
Therefore, the risk of being robbed occurred much more frequently. Obviously, the dark web is a big part of this, making it much more difficult to identify, trace, let alone apprehend and stop at the source any manufacturing or distribution process. The supply was really unreliable. And what that would mean is that one month I would have all the meth I wanted, and then other times it would be incredibly dirty and impure or they just wouldn't have any. Back in the day, when they were doing this with ephedrine pills, when they were starting to crack down on ephedrine pills in the US, when restrictions started coming up on being able to buy eight-packs, and then four-packs , and then two. -packages, eventually one Sudafed package at a time, which really choked off the supply.
And so, like any good salesman trying to sell any product, legal or not, I started looking for other suppliers and, through a person who was selling me

cocaine

at the time, I was introduced to another contact. So I had to drive to Orange County to go to a strip club and then someone walks up to you, makes sure you are who you say you are, and checks your ID. He gives me an address and tells me to get back to my car. And finally we found ourselves on a dirt road. This was my first encounter with the cartel people, and it was the classic encounter that you've seen in every movie in your life, which was, I came out with the money, they came out the other way, but they had three guys, obviously with weapons.
And we got in the middle, I gave them the bag of money, they gave me the bag of drugs. One of the great things about dealing directly with the cartels is that they were really trustworthy. Every time I contacted them to let them know I needed a product, it was no problem. I never needed another one, because they could always supply me with what I needed. Right now, more than 90% of the methamphetamine sold and consumed in the United States has been manufactured in Mexican superlabs. I think given the incredible proliferation of these superlabs south of the border, having local labs has become almost redundant.
Manufacturing is easier, more reliable and the product is cheaper at scale. They absolutely can employ real talent, so they can hire real chemists and people who really know what to do at the upper levels. But as we go downriver, they sometimes offer pretty well-paying jobs, considering what's available nearby. Much more money is needed in the United States to get away from police regulation. We all know it's doable, it's just much more expensive. In Mexico, it is much, much cheaper to buy enough police power in your pocket. So these super meth labs are relatively super labs, right?
They are earning thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of pounds a year. So, there has been a big return to P2P meth in the United States and Mexico. P2P meth actually ends up being stronger than ephedrine-based meth, creating massive problems (mental health issues, larger incidents of things like meth psychosis, etc.) and that is creating a crisis around larger meth use. at this moment than the one we have. I've seen it in a long time. The honest answer to why I stopped selling drugs is that I didn't see a way to keep doing it and continue living a life outside the gates.
Everyone I knew who sold drugs ended up dead or in prison at some point. I never saw anyone leave that world intact. I was in a motorcycle accident in 2001 and they found me with

cocaine

, but they found me with half a pound of cocaine on me and the police knew that someone with a half pound of cocaine in his jacket knows someone. that he sells drugs in quantity. They obviously searched the whole place, right? And I started looking through the walls, through the ducts, the air conditioning ducts, and they found toxic chemicals, because one of my friends who made meth left some of the chemicals at my house.
He had a lock picking kit and it was illegal to carry it. He had a loaded gun next to my bed. And you get a ticket for every substance you have. And in fact, on top of that, I was charged with two counts of manufacturing methamphetamine and MDMA. We had a pill press in my house where we squeezed MDMA pills. Initially, I expected between 15 and 18 years, and my lawyer immediately that day told me one thing: "It is clear that you are addicted to these drugs. Everyone can see it. If this judge does not see that "If you really want to change the direction Where your life goes, you will get everything that is yours.
You'll get 15 to 18 years in prison." I think that was the only way to sell me on treatment, honestly, at the time. So I listened to the judge and went to rehab in Pasadena, here in Southern California. So we did something called an open plea, which actually meant that I had to plead guilty to the nine felonies, but if I pleaded guilty to the nine felonies that were still on my record, the judge could make whatever decision he thought was right given my situation. And he came out and gave me this very creative sentence, in my opinion.
And the sentence was 364 days, one day less than a year: "If when you get out you start selling drugs again or I see you here again, whatever. "Whatever you do next will have seven added years." And in a way, I felt like there was a Bible story about a king with a sword hanging over his head, right above his head, and I felt like I had this hanging sword that was actually as my guardian for a while. a couple of years while I was trying to figure out how to get my life back on track. I just want to say publicly that I also recognize massive privilege in who I am, right?
So, I may be from the Middle East and I may actually be a first-generation immigrant to the United States, but no one can tell when I speak. So in front of that court, I was a relatively young adult white man, so I think that reality also afforded me a lot of privilege at that time. When I got out of prison, I tried to get a job. They couldn't hire me for anything. I tried to get jobs at a mall, I tried to become a pizza delivery guy and they wouldn't hire me. The only thing available to me besides a job was going back to school, so I went to Cal State Long Beach, which was the first place I got my master's degree.
I then returned to UCLA to earn my Ph.D. .D., where I ended up teaching. And so I ended up taking this route that seems blessed at the end of the road, butNo way was guaranteed, and there were many, many times along the way that the idea of ​​coming back and having that access to money and power was really enchanting. The million dollar question is how to stop the production and consumption of methamphetamine. The problem is that the government is known to have tried to use prohibition and interdiction, right? Ways that stop supply or make use illegal.
When it comes to all drugs, including methamphetamine, what we've seen time and time again is that these methods don't work, and that's why they became this very deep-rooted public campaign to raise awareness among children, young adults, etc. methamphetamine problem. So you could see the faces in the meth photos, and what meth does to you, and all that kind of stuff. That's when we started to see the opioid problem explode in this country, and it was like we looked in one direction, and suddenly a game of Whac-A-Mole happened, and everyone had to turn their attention to enopioids for a while.
But in the meantime, while everyone was focusing on opioids, the supply and demand for methamphetamine began to increase again and again. And over the last decade, we've seen a massive resurgence, once again, of methamphetamine use. They are going to meet the need, they are going to meet the supply that is required and they are going to find any way to do it. I think focusing on ways to stop the supply of chemicals is simply the wrong approach and not something we should think about too much. And the real game is to ask ourselves: why is methamphetamine use increasing?
About 85% of the incarcerated population in the United States has an active drug addiction problem or was arrested for drug-related crimes. If we add to that the cost of interdiction, prohibition, etc., which amounts to trillions of dollars, if we add the cost of lives and, furthermore, the cost of incarceration, which we do not consider part of the war on drugs . because it's actually part of our overall crime-fighting measures. When you add up all those statistics, I think it's pretty safe to say that the war on drugs can be considered one of the most regrettable failures of the law enforcement community here in America. 10% of the US population struggles with addiction, as diagnosed by the DSM.
Even that number has increased. So, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, just raised its own estimate of people struggling with addiction in the U.S. from 24 million to about 40 million. So this is a problem that affects us all, and yet somehow we have accepted the narrative that "those people" are addicts and alcoholics. But we are here, we are normal and we are safe. Addiction, as we all know, does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status. And we have to get out of our heads that the people who fight are other than us, because they are all of us.
And so the war on drugs has been a war on those people, and that's us. I was selling to my friends when it started, so the idea of ​​having to be secretive, A, didn't occur to me, and B, was relatively impossible, because everyone knew me. I was a student at UCLA. They were all my friends. They lived around me. Everyone in the drug game uses nicknames, so I know people like Bullet, Murdera and Termite, you just come up with a name, and that becomes kind of a nickname that you go by when you sell. I used to drive, when I started I drove 250 or 300 miles a day in Los Angeles making deliveries.
But really, the moment I came out of it, everyone came to me and everyone was tested. And so, while it was never my intention to end up being a guy with a gun entering into a deal with a cartel outside of San Diego, there were these little incremental progressions that got me there. And what it taught me is that if I put my attention and my efforts into the right things and gave it enough time, five, six, seven, eight years, just like how my career as a drug dealer grew, I could really accomplish something. Pretty incredible stuff, but now, doing it the right way.
I was very afraid to tell people that I had been in jail, that I had been a drug dealer, that I had been addicted to methamphetamine. He felt great. And some of my friends knew it, my very, very close friends. But what I did instead was, it's 2008. I started blogging about it and I started talking publicly, but to people I didn't know, right? Blogging is a sure thing. It's people out there. I then ended up leading groups and seeing clients at a treatment center here locally in Los Angeles. Eventually, I opened my own treatment center and have practically dedicated my life to helping people with addiction issues.
And so on Igntd, which is what I do now, which is an online addiction help platform, I also wrote a book called "The Myth of Withdrawal," based on the fact that you don't need to be prepared. for resignation to put your life in order. If you are ready to do something, you should start acting now, even if you are not ready to stop doing it. This is my life's purpose, this is what I do now, and I am incredibly motivated, grateful, and honored to be able to help people every day. My name is David McMillan. I have smuggled more than $17 million worth of

heroin

internationally.
And that's how crime

works

. The

heroin

e's world is very dark and full of secrets. It involves hundreds of thousands of people, mostly at a very low level. And you walk past heroin dealers without even thinking about it. I was a smuggler for over 35 years. He has been arrested about 12 times. The world's top three heroin producers have become Mexico, largely to serve the United States market. In South Asia, there are Vietnam and Laos, the remains of the ancient Golden Triangle. And, of course, Afghanistan, which surpasses them all in volume. And that comes from different provinces that over the years have sometimes had droughts and other interferences.
In fact, the Taliban stopped almost all heroin production. But they changed their minds when they saw the money. One of my first trips to Afghanistan was in '79. When finding and establishing a reliable contact for the heroine, it is best not to trust her by introduction. Because the person who introduced you could be a DEA agent. So it's better to start from scratch. And that could mean going to farmland and meeting farmers. I traveled to the heart of Afghanistan and lived with farmers for a few days, maybe a week. I got involved in something local. Helped with a well.
Come find out something about their lives. And they make their own judgments. The townspeople would come to trust me because I wasn't in a hurry. You don't need a large amount of opium to do well if you are a farmer. They receive at least 50 dollars per kilo. Now, for a farmer, that's pretty good. The poppy has a large bulb underneath, and is about the size of a golf ball. Farmers, when it is ripe, scrape the sides and during the night small drops of white sap are produced. It is scraped to form a kind of sticky brick.
That is the basis of opium. It contains a very, very high yield of morphine, 15%, 20% sometimes. Beyond the farmers, each part of growing, processing and handling heroin is done separately. None of the people involved with the supply side are really connected in the group way you might expect to crime. They are simple country people. You could buy, say, about 10 kilos of opium base. We'll call them chemists, but really they're just skilled craftsmen who would take that and do the processing. Now, don't imagine a fancy lab or anything like that when it comes to that. You'll see a couple of old tin pots, five or six plastic buckets, some filter cloth, some chemical drums.
Oh, and maybe an old branch to stir things up. The opium base is mixed with ammonia, then washed to extract the morphine, dried to a black gunk, and then cooked with acetic anhydride. It smells like really incredibly strong vinegar. The rest is cleaning, because first it comes out completely brown. There are actually only two types, white and brown. The brown is the half-processed version and only half as strong. The whiteness has been purified, cleansed. The brown is smoked, while the white is traditionally injected or snorted. But white heroin has hardly been sold in Europe for years.
And people who inject have been injecting brown heroin. Something dangerous and corrosive to your own arteries and veins. Law enforcement agencies have their own way of determining the purity of heroin. There really is no better test than experience, and I can tell in a matter of seconds by the smell, texture and taste of the heroin where it comes from and very close to how strong it is. First I would have to get him out of Afghanistan (it is a landlocked country) and send him to Pakistan. That had its own complications on the other side of the border, because any type of trade there, whether smuggling or not, involves a certain lubrication of the border area.
Bribery. Everything has a price, whether it's refrigerators or televisions. Heroin smuggling is limited by the fact that it cannot be disguised to look like something else. It can be packed flat and formed into many different objects. In fact, books were often used. Hardcover covers, front and back. I guess I would have to remember my time smuggling out of Thailand as the most successful operation. The quality was correct. They were the large bags that come from the Golden Triangle, which are wrapped in plastic and stamped with the name of the local caudillo or warlord that guarantees safe passage.
You would press it down and hide it inside the wooden frames of radio amplifiers or electrical equipment in your checked luggage without anyone interfering with it. I would have it pressed inside the sides of the wood and veneered around the outside. Almost all heroin transported by air rarely exceeds half a kilo of pills that are hidden in luggage or packaged on the body or even turned into suitcase handles. I used to carry it myself, you know? But at least I knew that if I did it myself, I would be in control of my own destiny. But I gave in.
I found messengers. The messengers were chosen for their appearance (which had to pass the first test), their stability and reliability, and also their ability to remain silent after the event. And that was very important. I had one guy who was kind of a recruiter for me in Pattaya and another in London. My recruiter in London had been kicked out of South East Asia. I ended up in a shelter here that the government used to try to relocate people who had been expelled from other countries. It was a gold mine of messengers. Someone who is not relaxed and acts of his own free will is a very bad messenger.
I don't think people always have completely selfish motives. People who have families to support sometimes consider it. Poverty could give that little final push. To get through airport security it was important to know the airport systems very well. I spent a lot of time traveling through those airports, knowing what kind of X-ray machines they used, what the staff were trained to do, whether you had to take off your shoes or not, how sensitive the metal detectors were. Over the years, customs teams would become particularly well trained to detect certain types of things. They have some for cigarettes.
They have some for drugs. They would move those teams at different times of the day. It was important to know when that team was there. He would use multiple passports to ensure the safety of the couriers, so that when they left one country of origin, they arrived in Europe and could pull out of their pocket another passport showing only travel in Europe. And they would have tickets to match. I obtained birth certificates from people who had died in infancy or very young, before traveling, and then built the identity around that and issued them legitimately. Arriving passengers were told to go to some agreed upon point, perhaps a hotel in the city or a restaurant.
I kept an eye on them to see if they had had any problems, because it is always possible that they had been intercepted. Then they would pay them immediately and take the bags away. It would then be stored for safety. Sometimes I like to think I'm looking at one of those phone apps that shows you all the flights taking place in the world. You see thousands of them. And in a way, you can say that each of those little planes has someone, maybe four or five people on board, who are transporting a certain amount of heroin.
During my criminal smuggling career, I was arrested about 12 times and that resulted in four convictions. The first, which occurred in 1981 in Australia, cost him a 10-year sentence. I was being investigated by the Australian police and at the time I was working as a courier. My own lawyer had told me to leave town, but I stayed. "No, I can deal with that. They'll never catch me with anything." I was sentenced to 15 years, of which I would eventually serve 10. There is no lawyer at the trial. Anything can happen. It seems everything is right. I would say this: one of theReasons I think deterrent sentences often don't work is super harsh treatment.
My wife at the time, Clelia, was arrested; my business partner's wife, Mary, was arrested; and they put them in the women's prison. They placed an informant with the girls in the women's prison to try to get information from them. Unfortunately, little Danielle was an arsonist. That's what she expected. She set fire to the prison and five women died, including Clelia and Mary. That was... oh, I don't have to say it, it was a very low point. I felt guilty and I should have. The police entered my house and destroyed it. All the possessions he had disappeared.
My wife was dead. After that came my stay in Thailand, where I was arrested for a drug case and escaped from there. It took two years to get out of that place. I was arrested in Pakistan, and again it took me almost two years to get a not guilty plea. From there I was arrested in Copenhagen and then finally a brief stay in the UK. When I was in my early 50s, around 2004, I walked away from the last deal. I had been giving some advice and getting tips for it, but even that was too close for comfort.
I would run out of time. I was just getting too old. The price for this is going to jail and I had promised my family that I would not use again. And also, from looking back and realizing that the reward was never enough. When larger quantities are involved, everything is done by shipping. I have known people to take hundreds of kilos of heroin and package them into oil drums or even pallets of other merchandise being shipped. So a technique would be to order some products through an existing and reputable company that had agents all over the world.
Table lamps or even cabin doors or cabinets, so that when it arrives in the West it is shipped as their cargo, not yours. Sometimes quite large shipments are intercepted by customs. People have asked me, "Would this make a dent in the market?" Supplies are supplied at least three months in advance. So. Furthermore, the intercepted load is never equal to the total flow passing through. So these seizures, although they may be news, a loss of 10 kilos here or even 5,000 kilos there will not make any substantial difference. Illegal and legal heroin shipping routes never overlap. The approach is different and the mechanism is completely different.
After a shipment arrives, it is unpacked and bagged in whatever form it will be shipped, whether in bulk in kilograms or in smaller quantities in ounces. It takes customers. In a month everything would have disappeared. At first, it was very profitable. A kilo of heroin back in 1980, personally, I could get a million dollars back on that. And this was in Australia, where, of course, prices there have been inflated. The expected purity was only about 15%. So if you reduced it to 18% it would still be considered good. I used only dextrose to make this. But that meant that 1 kilo became 4.
At first, they even created a street network, because there were a couple of streets in Melbourne that were famous for it. Then it returns to base four or five times a night and recharges, so to speak. There have been some changes between, say, 2002 and 2022. The retail price of heroin has dropped considerably. It is now approximately at its most basic level. The purity is not great, but as for the price, I can't imagine any factors that would make it cheaper or possibly increase it. Is it more available? It is, but there is no market beyond a certain point.
The popularity of heroin goes in waves of different fads and fads. There is a solid core of people who are totally addicted and don't change much. Street heroin, of course, is not pure. It would be dangerous if that were the case. It is usually between 15% and 20%, and that is considered strong. The cutting agents in brown heroin are usually mannitol. It is really a laxative for babies. In recent years, heroin has been combined with a drug called fentanyl. It is a synthetic opioid, but it is a very dangerous drug. It's at least as strong as heroin. So how could someone measure it?
A small amount of fentanyl is often mixed with heroin to maintain strength, but this can often be misjudged and end in deaths. But when there is a shortage or when someone is just greedy, the retailer can cut it again. And this can be potentially dangerous because it will seem weaker, and people will adapt to using it weaker and use more of it, so when they get what used to be the standard batch, it will be a little bit stronger, and there will be a potential for overdose. But it must be taken into account that very few people die directly from a heroin overdose.
It is usually mixed with alcohol or sleeping pills. It almost never happens when it's the heroine alone that takes someone down or takes them to the top. There were political elements in the manufacture and distribution of opium and heroin. Until 1911, heroin and morphine were available at the local pharmacy or apothecary, without a prescription, just by asking. In fact, heroin was promoted as a kind of panacea. Bayer manufactured small heroin pills in Germany. But after 1911, the Harrison Act was passed in the United States, which focused attention on addictive drugs. When the Vietnam War broke out, heroin became something American troops tried during their downtime.
They took those habits home. So we have a legacy from the Vietnam War. It's called the war on drugs, but is it really a war? A war suggests that one side has hope of winning. Drug traffickers and smugglers know that they will not achieve every success, but they do not have to win to be successful either. They just have to stay out of jail most of the time. But it is still a high price to pay. From the authorities' point of view, there would never be a situation where they could come out and say, "Okay, we've done our job.
There's no more smuggling." How can that happen when the nature of the business continues, advances and replaces fallen soldiers? The authorities could catch more smugglers if they act based on their intelligence or the tips they receive, but they are kept by the amount of money, the resources they are given. In 40 years I have only been taught one thing: that the only solution is to legalize all drugs. Legalization would, of course, require some control measures so that someone would not walk into a store and for no sensible reason buy 10 kilos of heroin. On the other hand, to put an end to this black market, control has to be very light.
And of course, spend some money offering services to people who can't control their medications. Different countries offer different alternatives to heroin, although in general all of them are poor, and not very effective treatment programs. For example, in the United Kingdom there are practically none. Someone who reports or presents with a heroin addiction has to take a place on the list and, to get a replacement, has to wait several weeks. That will force them to return to that world. It could reduce the damage. It will save them some money because they have the option of, for example, taking methadone instead of heroin.
There are harm reduction programs that are good, welcome, and have some effect, such as needle exchange programs or programs that offer safe places to use drugs. Of course, that doesn't help them quit drugs, but all that help is a good thing. There is very little that can be done, because the hope is to create a standard, consistent product that does not run the risk of overdose, but is not so garbage that people turn to unsafe supplies. But I don't see any other way to do it other than legalization. Additionally, in a world of legal drugs, there would be fewer inmates for minor charges or any drug-related charges.
And that would have the effect of allowing police to spend more time on violent crimes and crimes that affect people more directly. To help the countries of origin, we would have to do more than simple crop substitution, which, so far, has not worked. It's not much better than lethal crop eradication, which has left many farmers destitute. I was 18 when I first got involved in drug dealing and not much older when I started smuggling. I can never say in any way that I have ever been a victim of anything. I have walked headlong. Even as a teenager, he was up to some kind of mischief, selling bits of hash at school, whatever, from a young age.
So when I met some safecrackers and they got pulled out of that, they were already a little bit into the local drug distribution network with some local marijuana. But they didn't know anything about importation. And that meant traveling. I could see the world and it seemed good to me. And I went out and did it on purpose. Something we don't realize when we are young is that a normal human life is short. And you're not that old. Only by looking back at the business of smuggling, drug

trafficking

, from the perspective of an older man, do we see how simple and clear it is that there is not only the danger, but also the futility and futility of the enterprise.
Since I got out of the smuggling game, these days I install CCTV cameras, which implies a certain amount of trust. I also wrote a couple of books, one that seemed to take years because it was about the more complex world of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the problems there and the involvement of the DEA. That took about 10 years to write. That's "Unforgiving Fate." Of course, I regret everything about the life I entered. People ask me why I didn't get away from that world after my first major arrest. And the answer is that I couldn't imagine a world where I wasn't running underground.
At the time it didn't seem like there was any real option. My name is Pieter Tritton, also known as Posh Pete. I smuggled more than 5 million pounds of cocaine internationally. This is how crime works. I have been imprisoned with people from there, bosses of the Sinaloa cartel, heads of the Colombian cartels. And even when they were at their peak, making millions, the amount of fear and paranoia they had to deal with, people trying to kill them, people trying to take away their business. And then the ending, what did they end with? They ended up going to prison for a long time and practically losing everything.
I'm very lucky to be alive. In my opinion, the risk is not worth the reward. Cocaine is grown, well, grown and produced in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. Farms will generally be in rural areas of the countryside. The farmers themselves receive fairly low wages. They have to grow an acre of bushes to obtain 1 kilo of cocaine. Once cocaine is processed, I know that in Peru it can be purchased for only, say, between $700 and $1,200 per kilo. Basically, we had to create a fake company, a fake profile, have a number so we could go to these big chemical companies and then buy the chemicals from them.
Because they wouldn't sell it to anyone in the public. You had to be from a business. The ether is one that is very controlled. Acetone too, in South America. Ether is the big one, because ether is washed, it used to be the best type of wash to produce cocaine. The cocaine was produced by supplying ethers in tanker trucks. There now it is practically impossible, so they have to use other chemicals, which are not as good. And that's one of the reasons why cocaine, if someone has been using cocaine for a long time, they may now realize that cocaine today is not the same as cocaine 20 years ago.
Because I've been around cocaine so much, I can, without even taking it, just rub it between my fingers, look at the color, smell it, and I can tell you what country it comes from by the chemicals in it. have been used in it. My most successful smuggling method was soaking the cocaine in rubber. Through a Colombian connection, someone in Cali would buy the cocaine. Then they would give it to a basic chemist there. So the cocaine would be put into liquid and then into liquid latex, which would then be put into sheets, very thin sheets. We would then place those latex sheets on the floor sheets of the tents.
So we would employ passengers, basically, to go pick up the tent after it had been laced with cocaine and then carry it back through customs. I sort of established some ground rules when it came to recruiting passengers. I would try to find people who obviously didn't have a criminal record, or who were well presented, you know, reasonably well presented. And only people who were quite sensible, preferably someone who was already working. And then we would pay them between £10,000 and £12,000 upon their return to Britain once the drugs were removed. Or sometimes, if there were enough funds, enough cash available, we would pay them as soon as they got off the plane and handed over the store to us.
The first tent we brought, I flew to Quito in Ecuador. The stores had already been manufactured and the cocaine impregnated in them. I managed to escape unscathed, returned to Britain, landed and that's it. Waiting for the police to stop him there. So, yeah, I mean,I arrived, picked up the tent and walked straight, and that was it. I mean, to be honest, I was shocked because nothing happened. In it there were almost 5 kilos of cocaine. And after going through that experience, I realized that this method that we were using, of soaking cocaine in rubber, was definitely a good method.
Because, you know, I had just been stopped at customs and I went through three customs checks (one in Ecuador, one in Holland and one in Great Britain) and I came out fine. During the time we were

trafficking

, we never lost a single shipment. The good thing about that method was that it was not detectable by X-ray. You can't detect it with a scanner. The dogs could not detect it, because the cocaine had evidently been transformed into rubber. I mean, that pretty much negates all the checking they can do on you. But there were definitely countries we avoided passing through or smuggling.
Many of the South Americans I have spoken to try to avoid trafficking in the United States. The DEA has powers to come to Colombia or Ecuador, wherever, basically, and arrest you and then take you back to the United States and try you there. Places like Thailand and Indonesia, where they have the death penalty, are always big no-nos. Saudi Arabia, any place where the death penalty for drugs exists. Also countries with really tough laws, high sentences. As for other forms of cocaine smuggling, obviously the cartels use containers, shipping containers, to transport the largest shipments of cocaine. Tons at a time.
This is typically done using corrupt port officials at both ends who facilitate the movement of cocaine. Personally, I didn't like the idea because I realized, having seen other people do it, that when something went wrong, the police officer or customs agent involved would always turn around and inform all the other people. involved. . Recently, I have seen new methods of smuggling cocaine across borders. I had a Russian friend when I was in Ecuador, when I was imprisoned in Ecuador, who was captured with 42 tons of cocaine, which was in barrels of molasses. He had been liquefied and mixed with molasses.
I mean, there are a multitude of things that it can be imbued with. Once we got the stores through customs and into Britain safely, we would have to extract the cocaine using chemical processes. Normally we would reduce it to about 60% cocaine, 40% phenacetin, and then repackage it and sell it. One of my first partners was trafficking drugs within the UK, so he put me in touch with a Colombian in London who was already importing cocaine into Britain through a contact of his in Cali, Colombia, who was operating with the cartel. Cali. That became our source of cocaine in South America.
We paid for all the cocaine in advance using different money transfer agencies, such as Western Union, MoneyGram. We always tried to keep transfers under £1000 at a time. We would use several people to facilitate the transfers, because obviously we couldn't. You can't really use a person more than two or three times a month. We had some clandestine money transfer agencies that were a bit corrupt, let's say, allowing us to send more than what was recorded. I did some exercises on the train, during the train ride here to London today. So, of every $100 or 100 pounds of cocaine that is purchased, I would estimate that about 2%, between 1.5% and 2%, goes to the farmer who grows the coca leaf.
Probably 35% to 40% goes to the cartel. But the cartels really control the lab and then the shipping out of South America. The rest, say only about 60%, would probably go to the street vendors. In the same way that OPEC controls the supply of oil, cartels control the supply and flow of cocaine. The problem with drug dealing is that you can only do it for so long before you get caught. In the operation I was running, we tried to keep the number of people involved as small as possible, because obviously the fewer people who know, the less chance there is of someone becoming an informant or betraying you.
The group we had, that was me, a Colombian and a Chilean who were the key players. And then obviously we would employ passengers to bring the tents back. Well, after the Colombian and the Chilean were arrested in a laboratory that was raided in Crystal Palace, the Colombian was handed over by the British police and became an informant. Then we started seeing police activity around us quite frequently. So it became a game of cat and mouse between them and us. I was arrested in Ecuador in 2005 and ended up being sentenced to 12 years in prison in Ecuador. I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which is post-traumatic stress disorder, after seeing so much chaos, death and destruction in the prison in Ecuador.
I would say that the levels of cocaine being produced are higher than ever these days. Although there is an increasing demand for cocaine, I believe that the purity of cocaine has also increased due to increased production levels. We are now in the Internet age. Encrypted technologies, encrypted phones, encrypted messaging services and dozens of them. Nowadays, there are many better ways to transfer money around the world, such as bitcoin and ethereum. They are definitely being used in the drug trade to facilitate large cash movements. That makes it much harder for authorities to keep up with all of this.
To keep up, the cartels have realized that pure cocaine can always be sold faster than cut cocaine can be sold. The kind of mafias, like the Albanians, the Russians and the Chinese, who now send their own people to South America to simply buy cocaine from the cartels there, and then basically say goodbye to them and then facilitate their own shipment back. . So that means they have the full share of the profits. The Albanian mafia is now in control of the entire trafficking enterprise in Britain and Europe. And I think it's become much more controlled, much more monopolized than it used to be.
There used to be smaller people, like me. Those smaller players have been forced out of the market by the fact that Albanians and similar Albanians have just gotten it. In my opinion, the government cannot win the war on drugs and is fully aware that it cannot win the war on drugs. And if you talk to many high-ranking police officers, they will definitely tell you that the war on drugs is unwinnable. And in my personal opinion, the only way to win the war on drugs is to legalize all drugs, manufacture them under license and strict control, and then tax them heavily to offset the detrimental cost to society.
In reality, the key element in this is the financial benefit of criminals. If financial gain can be removed from the entire equation, then there is no incentive for criminals to traffic drugs. So I don't think that's throwing more and more money at a border force and trying to control it and, say, eradicate crops. I mean, they've tried to eradicate crops, and that only had a detrimental effect on the local people, because it also destroyed other crops and caused disease and contaminated the water. It's big business that it stays illegal, because it actually creates more jobs and more monetary profits, across the board, for law enforcement, for prisons, for the judiciary, for healthcare, for these pharmaceutical companies that make drugs that help with the treatments.
I got into selling drugs at a young age. I always had a kind of entrepreneurial streak, but drugs, at that time, were quite easy to use and a lot of people seemed to be using them. There were illegal raves every weekend and a lot of people from the school across the street started going to these parties. So, you know, instantly there was a huge market. Until I was arrested when I was 17, when I was in college, which put an end to everything. You know, I saw how upset my family was and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get into college and jeopardize my future.
While trying to survive on a student loan, I realized that they don't get very far. That's when I first came into contact with cocaine. He started selling cocaine to a couple of students. Before I knew it, I was selling cocaine to locals in Cardiff, and then to their dealers, and then in turn selling cocaine to their dealers, and before I knew it, I was supplying half of South Wales. . And then I ended up expanding and spreading out into the Bristol party scene and catering to a lot of people there. The first time I went to prison, in England, I mean, yes, I made contacts in prison.
But yeah, I guess you make contacts in prison. I mean, they are the ultimate school of crime. Anywhere you go to prison, anywhere on the planet, you're going to end up making contacts, because that's the nature of the places you find yourself. Now I go to schools, colleges and universities, trying to educate people about the harm that cocaine and drugs in general cause. You will only end up being captured or killed. And the effect that will have on your family and friends is devastating. Since leaving prison, I wrote a book called "The Infierno", published by Ebury Penguin, which is about my time in prison in Ecuador.
I'm currently writing the prequel to that first book and hope to turn them into a script to make a Netflix series or possibly a movie. I have created my own company in order to make my own chocolate products, drinks and chocolate bars, importing cocoa from Ecuador. Not cocaine, cocoa. So, yeah, this time we're going straight. My name is Shaun Attwood. I smuggled over $10 million worth of ecstasy into the United States from Holland. This is how crime works. At the height of the ecstasy circle, I had about 200 people working for me. The largest shipment ever was 40,000 pills and we were competing against an underboss of the Gambino crime family, "Sammy the Bull" Gravano.
When I was active, the capital of ecstasy manufacturing was Holland. Five of the most common back then were white doves, Mitsubishis, Eurodollars, Teletubbies and dollar signs. A pure ecstasy pill should contain between 100 and 125 milligrams of MDMA and clay. So, they put the powder in the press and it comes out with a logo. The recipe for ecstasy has changed because the government has clamped down on the original ingredients of ecstasy. So, we have these cartels and large criminal enterprises who don't care about the purity of the product and add all kinds of mixtures of chemicals. Sometimes people add food coloring to them to create a distinctive mark.
Most of the tablets containing food coloring were not pure presses, but Holland base presses. Every time a new pill came out, people said, "This is the bomb," "This has double MDMA." But generally, if it's 100 to 125 milligrams of MDMA, you'll get the same dose. At the height of the ecstasy operation, we could have a pill designed a certain way, but we chose not to because we believed it would attract law enforcement. On the DanceSafe website, they had all the pills, pictures of them, and gave the exact ingredients of the pills. So we already had a very good reputation for the quality of our product.
I was there when the rave scene started in Arizona. I knew everyone. It was all the little local cliques that came to me to invest in matches and E deals. The first clubs I scored individually were a little rave called Chupa and the Silver Dollar Club. We bought them for 25 or 30 dollars a pill. This is 1996, 1997. So we made a deal where, I don't remember if it was 500 or 1,000 from Los Angeles for a little over $10 a pill. That's when we realized that we needed to meet the demand to get larger quantities and get them at reduced prices to pass through Holland.
To get pills in Holland, I had to take people on board flights with the test kits and tell them: "Go to the clubs." They would find the people selling them in the clubs and return home with the samples. And if the samples were good, then the person would come back out and we would establish a deeper connection. It's very covert. Everything is done in hotel rooms. People appear. You have your test kit. They deliver the pills; You deliver the invoices. Not much basic information is known about what is happening, and it is probably to protect the companies running it.
Once we started getting pills from Holland, we received tens of thousands per shipment, but then we didn't have to do it as often. It could be every month, every two months, something like that. Wild Man, my best friend since childhood, became my main bodyguard in Arizona. When Wild Man was on his first stay, he opened the door to a world of gangsters, contacts I wouldn't have made. And I got to meet all these characters. And one of them in particular was in a situation with the police, and we protected him, and he said, "From now on, my brothers and I will protect you.""And that was the New Mexico mafia.
We were raised by the New Mexico mafia. This is the most powerful and dangerous mafia in Arizona at that time. They tried to assassinate the head of the prisons, the head of the Department of Corrections. I They said, "Shaun, if you are stopped leaving our house, the police have no right to get into your vehicle unless they have probable cause. They will ask you: 'Can I register your vehicle? ?' You can say, 'No, I'm in a hurry.' And if they insist on searching the vehicle and they find something without probable cause, that is the fruit of the forbidden tree, we will post your bond immediately, a lawyer will come to visit you immediately and the lawyer will do it. "I'll tell you, realistically, what kind of trouble you're in." The reason he wasn't clashing with the cartel and he wasn't clashing with the New Mexico mafia is because they had harder drugs under control.
I was never in competition with them. So, at first from Holland we did it by mail. We fluffed up the stock market annual reports and used edible glue to seal them all. And then they would put them in a box and ship them by FedEx to an address in Arizona. And we had several addresses. I flew people in from the UK, built up credit in their names, rented houses in their names and bought cars in their names, all to use within the criminal enterprise. We would go from Hermosillo Airport. We would fly to Mexico City. You could then take Air France to Paris and then take the train to Holland.
Back then, this was before 9/11. This may seem very indifferent to some people, but you could throw them in your luggage, like pillowcases, thousands and thousands of pills. Now, it was more strategic than simply getting off the plane in Hermosillo and then crossing the border into Arizona. We rented properties in Puerto Peñasco, Rocky Point, and the smugglers who brought them to Mexico took them to those places. The pills would then be divided into vehicles and smugglers who had, for example, new SUVs, University of Arizona stickers, scuba tanks, and all kinds of tourist trinkets. And especially if it was spring break or one of the student holidays, the checkpoints were very crowded.
They were so overwhelmed. You know, you have so many guys stopping cars. We were never, ever caught taking them to the Arizona border. It was impeccable. "Better Call Saul", these people exist. They may seem like stereotypes, but they are based on what is really happening in America. I mean, there's a lot of money in drugs. So, I was number one. He was coordinating the operations. Wild Woman was number 2. She is from Liverpool. Wild Man was number 3. Three Englishmen at the top. The rest were all local people from the United States. Mostly the people originated from Arizona.
We had it structured like a corporation. I divided it into factions. Then you have the head of each faction, they have middlemen and brokers who sell them on the street. In my company, the main rules were loyalty, not snitching, passing information along the chain. If you discover something on the street that is a threat, that information is transmitted back to me. I mainly chose people who had no criminal record. My right hand man, Cody Bates, is now dead, he rented cars and houses just for cash and pills that no one knew about. I live in a million dollar house on the side of a mountain, the most beautiful place I have ever lived in my life, in a gated and guarded community.
As more people work for me, I realized it was best to spread the product across multiple locations, across multiple factions. So as soon as a shipment of tens of thousands arrives, we want to get it out immediately and distribute it to different locations. Because if they give you 2,000 pills, nothing happens. That's the cost of doing business. But if we have 40,000 people in a house and it is affected, it is a serious loss. At the height, people from other states came to us. People would even fly from Chicago and states on the other side of the United States to come to us.
We had pagers. I never discussed big deals on the phone with anyone. Cody Bates rented the house where the product was, where the cash was that no one knew about, and he made the rounds. Then, he would approach the head of each faction and collect the money. If everything went well, it was fine. If there were problems, that's where we would bring Wild Man and G-Dog, and they would enforce the law. With the shipment being 40,000 pills, let's say I receive at least $10, on average, and pay $2 to $3. I'm making $7 or $8 on 40,000, which I think is a couple hundred grand, profit from a mission.
To launder the money, I flew people out of the UK, opened stock exchanges, bank accounts and credit accounts in his name. I slowly built up all this credit and kept all this money in a legal way, so I hadn't done anything criminal to him yet. But once the company became massive and I knew I had to look at these accounts and these names, I started investing in music stores and rave clothing. Now, if you're a store that hosts raves, then when you host a rave on the weekend, you have tens of thousands in cash in the bank on Monday.
To that you add the product of my ecstasy. We are introducing money into the banking system. Before Sammy the Gravano Bull came on the scene, I was famous for bringing out the white and beige printing presses of Holland. And that was the main source of supply to Arizona, to the raves and to the clubs. What you have to keep in mind is that people say that if Sammy the Bull Gravano was competing with you, it is the Italian mafia, the Gambino crime family. But that's not true. Sammy the Bull is a formidable character in his own right.
He murdered people, he plotted to murder them. But he was the highest-ranking member of the mafia who took sides, testified and cooperated. And he went against Gotti. He did something that was stupid. We found a property that we believe was linked to Sammy the Bull's people. And they tied us all up and kicked in the door and held people down and took all their stuff as an act of, you know, showing that if you do something to us, something will happen to you. But I regretted doing it. I should have never put myself in that situation, because kicking in someone's door and running down the hall with a gun where everyone could have had guns and just shooting us all, the police could have come, that was drug-fueled insanity. , looking at it now.
It made things worse. There was a blow against me. They were offering $10,000 for my head on a silver platter. In prison, Sammy the Bull Gravano's son told me that someone had called him in Phoenix, his name is The Crowbar. I was there with G-Dog, Wild Man and some members of my team, Wild Woman. A woman who was doing a striptease had seen me. There was a reward for me. She called and they were in a car that was coming to take me to the desert. G-Dog, Wild Man advised me to leave because they had sensed that the atmosphere had changed.
And I left there just before Gerard, Gravano's son, arrived. He said that if the ransom had not been paid, they were going to kill me, and that would have simply ended his competition. Sammy the Bull's company came along, did big numbers, lit up the scene, had all the runners running around raves and clubs saying, "We're the biggest drug barons in the history of the world," these drug-addicted jock characters. steroids, which totally brought the heat to the scene. And that's why he was arrested a couple of years before me. So, I mean, I was basically thanking the police for arresting him, in my mind.
But all those resources turned against me. It was May 16, 2002 when the SWAT team arrived. I thought once I stopped importing, I would get my way. I thought you got caught with drugs. All you need is someone from your past, within seven years, the statute of limitations, to tell the police that they've made a deal with you and they've got you. I don't need the drugs. We used the New Mexico mafia lawyer. He was an underground lawyer. He paid her $100,000. And that's how we went from 200 years to 9 and a half years without giving away. My first prison was Towers Jail, where neo-Nazis approached me.
To join the gang, to be a member, you have to murder someone for them. There are very few members. There are many executors, associates, people who work for them and who manage the system for them. Arizona, the four major prison gangs, are all racially divided. The whites are the Aryan Brotherhood. The blacks are the Mau Mau. The Mexicans have their own gang. And then there are the Chicanos, who are the Mexican Americans. There are also the Native Americans. And then anyone who doesn't fit, heaven help them, because it's just pure survival of the fittest. Being deeply embedded in the Arizona prison system, the top priority of all gangs is to keep the drug business running smoothly.
You have the staff bringing the drugs. You have the visitors bringing the drugs. They don't want anything to interrupt that. I've done some PSA videos, prison survival tips. Be careful with what you say. Do not presume. Don't let them know you have money. Don't let them know that you have resources. Two months after my arrest, a story appeared in the Phoenix New Times. "English Shaun's Evil Empire", 10 pages. The neo-Nazis found out about this and then pressured me to ask my girlfriend to smuggle drugs through visits because I must have all these drug connections. Fortunately, there was a race riot, and those guys who were trying to pressure me were moved, and after that I joined the Italians, and that pressure on me ended.
He ended up in a jail run by a famous sheriff named Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Over time, you simply saw them. Revolving door. Young people who come in with minor crimes become tougher criminals. It is a university of crime. The conditions in that prison, the cockroaches, the dead rats in the food, the guards murdering the prisoners. For the vast majority of people I was housed with, there was no hope. But that's what keeps prisons running. The illegal black market for drugs created by drug laws is very vast. And now we have hundreds of thousands of deaths in Mexico and all these knife crimes in London.
This is what the police tell us and it is about young people competing for the profits of the black market and the drugs created by the drug laws. He was operating during a relatively innocent phase of the introduction of ecstasy into the United States. Now everything is monopolized by organized crime and it does not matter who is arrested by organized crime. They always have the resources to bribe officials and to keep drugs flowing. I lost absolutely everything. He spent six years in prison. There's a clip where I'm in a London airport, I think it's Gatwick or Heathrow, and I'm in shock, hugging mum, dad and sister.
Mom is crying in the car leaving the airport. I stayed at my parents' house for a year. Unemployment sent me to telesales interviews and things like that. I would tell them, you know, criminal record, yeah. I couldn't get a job. Dole tells me you have to start lying, tell them you don't have a criminal record or you'll never get a job. But a year later I moved to Guildford. I lived with DJ Mike Hot Wheels, one of my best friends. I lived in his room for 10 years just writing my blog and building my social networks. We started the blog in 2004, we started the YouTube channel in 2007.
It was the first prison YouTube channel. I went all over the country interviewing the most interesting people. I'm blessed, you know? Many wonderful people came into my life to lend a hand and help me spread my message. And I feel like it's my karmic destiny now that we have this platform to help other kids share their story. It was the late 1980s, and suddenly on the news on weekends there were stories of police officers chasing wide-eyed young men dressed in baggy jeans with logos of LSD acid and stuff. In my economics class I had a classmate.
He says, "You have to come and check this out." And then we went to the Thunderdome, Oldham Road, Manchester. Then he said, "Be patient. I'll go get the things for you." So, I took the pill and once I started dancing, I never wanted to stop again. I never wanted the party to end. And I thought, "Phew, I finally found myself." And that's how raving became my religion. So, going back generations of my family, some settled in Chicago, others retired in Arizona. I had two aunts. Two of my father's sisters ended up in Arizona and I visited one of them when he was a child.
When the plane comes to land, you look outside and see all the pools in the backyards. So I was already thinking, "Hm, maybe I'll want some of this when I finish college." That 's what I did. If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice, it would be to stay on the path of slow and steady progress in life. I started following the stock market when I was 16 years old. I was worth a couple million in the stock market when I was in my twenties. That was before all this drug activity. I didn't need the money.
It was the ego. My ego was so biglike the Grand Canyon at the top of this. Pablo Escobar was worth billions. His brother said, "Let's buy our own island and relax and don't get arrested, don't get killed, and don't spend the rest of our lives in prison." Pablo said, "I put the president in power. I have 10,000 people working for me. Do you want me to relax on some boring old island?" It's not money. It's the ego and being a character in the scene. I'm Neil Woods, a former undercover cop. He used to infiltrate drug gangs in the UK.
And that's how crime works. Drug-related crimes are completely different from any other form of crime. Completely different. If the police catch a drug dealer, crime increases, because there are an unlimited number of people who want to take advantage of that opportunity. What happens over time is that, at all levels, when police catch street drug dealers, they help create monopolies. So if you catch a dealer who controls half the city, the dealer who can take advantage of that opportunity is the one who controls the other half. In essence, it is an extremely hostile environment because only the most controlling and hostile gangs are the most successful.
Drug policing has made the heroin and crack cocaine markets in the UK and around the world much more hostile, but also much more competitive. As people are arrested, this creates opportunities. And if we consider that if the police catch a gang that controls a quarter of a city, then the gang most capable and capable of taking advantage of that opportunity and taking control of that quarter of the city is a gang that already controls another. city ​​neighborhood. Therefore, a very combative and competitive market is created. The target customers of these organized crime groups are the most problematic consumers of these products.
The top 10% of heroin users consume 50% of the market value of that heroin. So you can see how much money there is in dominating or exploiting that unconditional 10%. You can make an extraordinary amount of money dealing with relatively few people. I realized that I had to understand the people around me, which meant understanding a group of people that I had previously had a lot of stigma about. And I had to re-address that quickly, because I had to know… I had to function like them. But I quickly realized that these people had a pattern of behavior that was out of their control because of what had happened to them.
And that was important to understand, because by understanding that, I could understand how organized crime was exploiting them and how I myself could appear exploited and therefore gain credibility to move up the ladder, buy increasing amounts of drugs and Network with the right people. I assume that the most important trafficker, or the most important foot soldier, and who is at the bottom of organized crime, is the most exploited person in the entire supply chain. And that is the user-distributor. He is someone who supplies drugs to finance his own habit. Most of the time they do it because organized crime has forced them to do so.
But he is the most important person to know, because he is the person on whom organized crime depends. Or, today, it is very often children who are the traffickers on whom organized crime relies. A user-distributor, from wherever he lived, would go where he was told early in the morning, where the next-rung distributor would be, and have the package delivered to him. And most of the time, that package would already be broken down into specific agreements and sealed, heat sealed in plastic and delivered to that distributor, and there would be an agreement that he could keep a percentage of them as long as he sold.
The total number. Now, if you were to ask me how the day was for the person who runs a team of user-distributors, that gangster who runs a quarter of a city, let's say, for example, most of the people I've met were pretty professional. They have not used any drugs, they have been efficient, they have gotten up early in the morning and they usually do it in shifts. They will split a morning shift and an afternoon shift, and they will do it in rotation as a team. They will check which SIM card goes in their phone or which phone they are using during the day.
They will have a separate SIM with a database of numbers that are most useful to them. They will communicate with their colleagues and meet with the person they will be working with that day. And what that would normally mean is that they will have a driver. They will sit in the back of a car quite often and drive them around locations where they will make deliveries to user-dealers, sometimes they will meet in the back of that car or sometimes they will meet in remote locations which will change depending on a rotating basis or on a whim.
They will keep a close eye on stash spots, where they will hide their next drug supply. They will also monitor the people measuring and heat sealing to make sure they are doing it correctly. They will be constantly in contact with whoever is tasked with keeping an eye on those people to make sure everyone is honest and working according to the team spirit, I should say, and that ensures that no one rips them off. At its core, it is an extremely hostile environment, but I must reiterate that it is the presence of people like me in that market and the general vigilance against drugs and the use of police informants that creates that desperately violent market.
The gangs that are most successful are those that are most capable and willing to use immediate violence. And so that threat of violence and that intimidation becomes one of the most important tools of the trade. Therefore, they need to give reinforcements to people, they need to constantly build their reputation. So if there is a group of sex workers who are committed to buying heroin or crack from that gang, then they will remind them and use violence to do it. In fact, he had left undercover work just before the Burger Bar Boys investigation. But I was manipulated, persuaded to do it because two other undercover agents had tried to get close to them, and they didn't get close, dangerously they didn't get close.
But it was an extraordinary amount of work and had some really serious ups and downs. So, I went to Northampton and chose two vulnerable people to manipulate. And I decided that these were the people who would eventually introduce me to the Burger Bar Boys. Because I knew they were connected to them. I knew they had been negotiating for them at some point. And after a lot of work, I finally convinced them to introduce me to the Burger Bar Boys. And that was a terrifying experience. And then I was directed to the place where they were meeting, their little headquarters in the pool club.
I was directed to the bathrooms, the door burst open and this hooded figure walked into the bathroom stall, stood on the toilet, looked and said, "What is this?" And he kept asking other questions and then rephrasing them, trying to surprise me. I knew the guy watching me from the cubicle was involved in seven different murders. In particular, he knew that he was the person who had obtained two machine guns for the multiple murders of two women. Then four hooded figures entered, and when the door burst open and they began to walk around me, from time to time one would headbutt me on the side of the head, in the ear.
And each time they pushed me more and more. And then suddenly he said, "Okay, then. What do you want?" As soon as he said the words: "Okay, then. What do you want?" The four hooded figures were gone. And I said, "I'll take one on one, please," which meant I'll take 1.4 heroin and 1.4 crack. And I gave him my 40 pounds, and he gave it to me looking down on me. And then I got his phone number. He put Woody, in fact he put my name on the phone, his phone. And I began buying larger and larger quantities from them more frequently and gathering evidence of conspiracy against the gang.
I was inside. The most important task I had, getting that phone number, getting that start of trust, I had achieved. That was it. It was simply the most intense operation. There was always something and there was always that threat of violence. It never disappeared. He never left, not even for a minute. And anyway, it lasted seven months. And I was pleased to think that at the end of those seven months I had gathered evidence against 96 people, the six main gangsters plus 90 other people. And I knew there was no one else to find. There were no new phone numbers, no names I hadn't already heard of.
He had caught everyone. There were police officers from five different counties and hundreds of people participated in the arrest phase. A lot of doors were broken. And about a week after the event, I spoke to the intelligence officer and he said, "Yes, we managed to disrupt the supply of heroin and crack cocaine in Northampton for a full two hours." All the belief that I had that had been eroded by Over those years, and it had been eroded, I had to give in to the evidence before my eyes, actually, and realize that this is useless. Now what this does is increase corruption.
If a trafficker, gang or cartel has been allowed to increase their market share, then they are richer, which means they have more money to invest in corruption. In Mexico there used to be 20 cartels. Now there are three. Each of those three is richer than the 20 they used to be. Sweden has an extraordinary war between drug gangs, and they are not only using machine guns, but also grenades. They are using improvised explosive devices. They are blowing each other up. There are literally hundreds of bombs exploding in Sweden between drug gangs competing to control drug markets across northern Europe.
This is something we should pay attention to, especially as Sweden prides itself on having the strictest drug laws in Europe. Cause and effect, I would say. The most significant change in drug markets has been the shift to the Internet. The dark web, dark markets. The lack of physical contact means there is less violence, so it's a good thing it's moved online. And there's also a way online, in a sense, to have self-regulation, because reviews remain, so people can increase the likelihood of getting better quality products. Claims by FBI agents or whoever that they can crack codes and use hackers to take down these markets are not true.
Dark markets will continue to become more efficient in response to police surveillance. Since I left the police, I wrote a memoir called "Good Police, Bad War." My position is the position of my organization, which is the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. We advocate for the full regulation of all drug markets to take control away from organized crime. And, increasingly, we are becoming the most important voices for reform.

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