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Getting high off drug busts

Good article at Philly.com: Law enforcement likes getting realliy high off drug busts

IT HAPPENS before the news conference, before the plastic-wrapped bricks of dope are arranged on the table for the TV cameras and before headlines are made.

Cops calculate the “street value.” It’s a branch of mathematics in which economies of scale meet public relations.

By envisioning thousands of transactions that will never occur — and sometimes padding the numbers on top of that — law-enforcement agencies can wind up doubling, tripling, quadrupling, quintupling, sextupling or even septupling what the confiscated drugs are worth to the bulk-level dealers who got popped.

In the hands of a narcotics cop with a calculator, $2 million of heroin can become $9 million, $500,000 worth of meth can become $2.5 million, coke worth less than $1 million can become several million.

We’ve often noted the inflated values given by law enforcement and this article gives numerous examples.

Of course, the real problem is that the entire public relations game of showing off seizures is nothing more than blatant self-promotion. It has nothing to do with public safety. When a large shipment is seized, it doesn’t matter if you call it $1 million or $10 million — it’s merely a minor and temporary inconvenience to the economics of the black market and has no real impact on supply.

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7 comments to Getting high off drug busts

  • Randy

    Kind of like Blazing Saddles:

    Gentlmen, we have to do something here to save our phoney baloney jobs.

  • primus

    It’s much worse than that; The value is already inflated by its location within the importing country. The value you cite as the ‘real’ value is just its value now that it has been imported. The true ‘value’ from the criminal’s point of view is what it cost him to buy in Mexico or wherever plus his costs of transport. That heroin you say is worth $2mil probably cost about $200K plus another $25K in costs, so really only about $225-250K. That applies equally to the coke and meth in your examples as well. The whole thing is truly phony baloney. Thanks Mel Brooks.

    • Peter

      Or, you could work out the “cost” of those kilos based on how much the tax payer has to pay to cover all of the drug war, divided by the number of kilos seized of any particular drug. That would give an astronomical figure per kilo, but I can’t see the drug warriors publishing such a calculation lest the tax payer starts to ask questions about getting value for money.

  • mr Ikesheeny

    http://gothamist.com/2012/07/27/fake_partys_over_synthetic_marijuan.php They aren’t named Andrea BARFwell! Business as usual! Does Michele Leonhart think she’ll get elected now?!

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Doesn’t everyone know that if they pass a law that the substance goes away? The Feds stole $36 million in that operation. Pretty good wages for one little kiss.

  • Duncan20903

    That last reference was probably too arcane. It’s a line from the song “Blood Money” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Just before Judas committed suicide Caiaphas told him:

    What you have done
    Will be the saving of Israel
    You’ll be remembered forever
    For this
    And not only that
    You’ve been paid for your efforts
    Pretty good wages
    For one little kiss