Drug dealers sell a product which can kill their customers. They ruin lives, families, and communities. They operate based on intimidation, elimination of competition, reputation, and the profit motive. The amounts of money a dealer can make are staggering. The way they continue operating and selling their poison which kill individuals and communities is that good people do nothing. If you become aware of someone selling drugs in your area, consider doing what you can to stop them by bringing them to the attention of law enforcement. Don’t just ignore it, and pretend you don’t see it, or hope it will go away.
Types of Drug Dealers
There are different types of drug dealers, based on how much product (drugs) they move, and their motive. The descriptions below are general categories, which not all individuals neatly fit into.
- Traders are addicts who sell small amounts of drugs to other users to fund and support their own habit. They may also trade one drug for another. They make a few dollars here and there, but dealing drugs is not their primary source of income. They will also work and collect various forms of public assistance to generate income.
- Street dealers. When most people think of drug dealers, this is the type they have in mind. They sell drugs to users. They can make hundreds or thousands of dollars in a few hours, depending on their location, reputation, quality of their product and customer base. They tend to be armed, and can be quick to use violence if they feel threatened or challenged. Most have extensive criminal histories. Their primary or only source of income is the sale of drugs.
- Suppliers or Kingpins purchase drugs in very large quantities, cut the drugs with inert materials to maximize the weight and volume, which maximize profit, and sell to street dealers. They can make tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars – a month. They tend to work as part of a criminal organization, and suppling drugs is their main or only source of income. They will almost certainly be armed, and have layers of armed security.
- Barons supply the suppliers. They manufacture drugs, process raw materials into drugs, grow large volumes of cannabis, cocoa leaves, or poppies, and can make millions or tens or hundreds of millions in a year. They are very professional surrounded by layers of security, included bribed officials, and probably operate outside of the continental United States. They are considered untouchable. Taking down a baron is an enormous undertaking, involving years of investigation and planning, and infiltration by undercover law enforcement, and establishing CI’s (Confidential Informants). This typically involves multi-jurisdictional task forces of federal and international law enforcement agencies and an investment of a great deal of money, time and is very high risk. Ordinary civilians are unlikely to have any contact with them, or they will appear to be legitimate businessmen. They are best given a wide berth.
- Middlemen or brokers put dealers, and suppliers and users in contact with each other.
- Couriers or Mules transport drugs, often across state or international borders.
- Amateurs, aka One-timers aka Civilians are generally law abiding, responsible members of their communities. They decide they are going to move a large quantity of drugs just one time, make a considerable profit , to pay off a mortgage, buy a new car, set up a retirement, or another major venture, and go into the deal with no intention of repeating it. They may keep this promise, or very much like the idea of making a large volume of cash for a single transaction, without the obligation of paying taxes. They may do it one more time for years. They often do not have a criminal mindset, and can make catastrophic mistake. They endanger their families, and are not trusted by professional criminals because they would be quick to accept a deal and turn CI. Though they would also be in great danger by doing so due to their amateur status. They are not trusted due to their lack of criminal pedigree and may be subject to intense scrutiny. These reasons are also why professional dealers work with them; they are often beyond d suspicion of law enforcement, and have access to contacts and funds to move drugs without drawing attention.
Law Enforcement Strategy to Bust Drug Dealers
The strategy of law enforcement is decapitation. Law enforcement has little interest in street level dealer, and almost no interest in Traders. They want suppliers. By arresting a supplier, the local supply of drugs will dry up when the dealers sell the entire product they are holding, and have no source to replenish their supply, in this way; the drug trade in specific geographic areas can be crippled. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing activity. New suppliers will promptly move into the market vacuum that was created by the arrest of a supplier, and begin moving their drugs to street level dealers. A new investigation will commence, and the process starts over. For out purposes, we will define drug dealers as suppliers.
What to look for
- A person loitering in a public area, with multiple people approaching them for only a few minutes or less. They will pick something up off the ground, drop something, exchange a handshake or high five as drugs and cashed are passed.
- Many people coming and going from a residence or building, but only staying for a few minutes.
- Someone driving a very expensive car, wearing designer label clothing and jewelry, flashing wads of cash, but they live in a cheap trailer or apartment or out of a hotel.
- Implausible reasons for carrying a lot of cash “I win big at the race track”
Drug dealers can be very serious and very dangerous individuals. You have to consider the risks involved with making a report that may or may not stay anonymous. But the benefits of putting a dealer out of commission are significant in terms of offender accountability, community safety and saving the lives of addicts.