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[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 114][Reference 116]

E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders

Appendix 1: Reference Section

115 Traffickers, by Nicholas Dorn et al., published by Routledge, 1992

The popular image of well organised gangs of drug dealers run by a "Mr. Big" is a myth, according to Dorn and his colleagues. Among drug dealers in Britain, there are "no cartels; no Mafia; no drug barons and relatively little corruption," although such forms of organisation may well exist in producing countries or to some extent in the US. Here, drug distribution is best described as 'disorganised crime'.

The authors interviewed 25 convicted drug traffickers of both sexes in prison and found that they had a wide range of motives. They also spoke to 55 people who had been active in the illegal drug market but had not been convicted. Some were still dealing.

They found that dealers fell into a number of main types:

1. Trading Charities: people who are motivated by ideological reasons rather than profit.

2. Mutual Societies: networks of user-dealers who are friends.

3. Sideliners: legal businesses that trade in drugs as a sideline.

4. Criminal Diversifiers: criminal businesses that also get involved with drugs=09

5. Opportunistic Irregulars: people who get involved in a variety of activities - legal and illegal - including drug dealing.

6. Retail Specialists: organised drug dealing enterprises with a manager employing a number of people in specialist roles to distribute.

7. State-sponsored traders: drug dealing enterprises that result from collaboration between the police and dealers, such as those allowed to trade in exchange for information.

The situation is fluid, so categories are loose and dealers change their methods. There has been a general shift towards the more overtly criminal type of dealer.

In the 1960s there was a greater number of hash dealers who distributed just to get free supplies and status.

Pubs are used as distribution points by 'sideliners' ."There are wholesale pubs and retail pubs," the authors say. In the former, deals of #5,000-#20,000 can take place "twenty times a day". It is quite common for dealers in stolen antiques to move into drug dealing.

Retail Specialists

Retail specialists, the most organised type of dealer, are on the increase. They organise distribution in a way that mirrors other commercial distributors: specialists work under a general manager. The specialists include buyers; accountants dealing with the 'washing' of money; "reps" negotiating with security staff at raves; sales reps finding customers but not carrying drugs; people looking after the drug stock; lookouts and people to provide physical protection. These last may prevent other gangs from poaching on the gang's territory, and help to create diversions to distract the police, by, for example, starting a fight.

The authors discuss various methods by which drugs money is laundered and the mistaken police policy, adopted from the United States, of trying to 'get Mr. Big'.

Widespread knowledge of police policies helps the dealers to adapt and to avoid being caught. Because the dealers are well-informed, flexible and constantly adapting, random methods would be more effective than current policies in tracking them down.

Undercover police operations

Police agents adopt an identity and lifestyle that is maintained on a 24-hour basis for a lengthy period. The authors give a long graphic account of a police operation to find drug manufacturers. A policeman poses as a buyer for a gang and negotiates a test deal in a pub and, later, a bigger deal. The suppliers get suspicious that the "buyer" is prepared to pay so much given the quality of the drug they are selling, but come to the wrong conclusion that he is part of a gang trying to get the drugs without paying. Arrests are made and the undercover agent head-butts a policeman and gets away, thereby hiding his true identity.

The authors say that the rise of Ecstasy and the return of LSD are not linked to crime in the same way as heroin, users of which are said to commit crime in order to pay for their habits, and crack cocaine, which is associated with violence.

A chapter on 'intelligence' includes a survey of what the police regard as 'good intelligence'. Curiously, intelligence that is 'current and detailed' scores twice as high as intelligence that proves 'right on investigation'. It is mentioned that the first seizure of 100,000 MDMA tablets resulted from police tracing a manufacturer through their materials suppliers.

[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 114][Reference 116]
E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (
HTMLized by Lamont Granquist (