Drugs. A Distribution Profile.

Colonisation of Suburban Communities by Drugs Dealers with Distribution Networks in Suburban Areas.

It is a general misapprehension that the inner cities are where it all happens. What is not considered is where the actual distributors are based and how they operate. Everyone fondly imagines that the drug supplies arrive at Dover and other major ports and are immediately magicked to the points of sale, or dropped from small aircraft awaiting collection and instant sale. Even more fantastically are smuggled into some remote cove in Cornwall or some windswept beach in Western or Eastern Scotland.

The tiny amounts - and some massive amounts - captured or intercepted are usually the property of a band of amateurs whose efforts are encouraged by major traders, simply with the intention that they should occupy the continual attention of the Police and Customs.

Major supplies arrive as a part of ordinary consignments of goods, they move with our food and our other imports. They find their way to their distribution points with those same imports and follow the same routes of distribution. Supermarket warehousing shares its food distribution with that of drugs. The packages arrive at supermarket stores and are collected from the loading bays and rear entrances of the places where we buy our food. They are collected in the same way from furniture warehouses and carpet warehouses and a myriad of points of commercial movement. They flow through our distribution networks as smoothly as the products themselves, only more care is taken to ensure their safe arrival.

The packages although reducing in number as they pass from hand to hand, are in themselves still bulky and obvious. They are not, as is supposed cut and packaged for sale in large and therefore obvious buildings, but are farmed out to homeworkers who weigh, process and package the materials for redistribution in the comfort of their own kitchens. Should any of these persons be caught they will remain silent. And of course, the losses are minimised in terms of the value of a consignment. Both prior to and after processing - this term has nothing to do with manufacture - the packages jump back and forth across various legitimate service activities which provide perfect cover. Garages providing a 24-hour service are heavily dependant on high speed delivery of single motor parts. Vehicles making such deliveries are small and unobtrusive and more often driven by women - always considered less suspect. The packages are sealed when collected and delivered. The drivers can be completely innocent of their contents.

Once delivery has occurred, a garage offering 24 hour repair and maintenance, makes a perfect point for redistribution. Other extremely useful services - again on a 24-hour basis - are those occupied with industrial sanitation or hygiene. Office cleaning provides a perfect cover for collection and redistribution. Packages can be both left in an office or collected from it, vacuums, buckets etc. being ideal containers. Ladies hygiene specialists, ie toilet cleaners remove and deliver containers on a regular basis. Again these can be used for both delivery and collection. Redistribution can then take place from home in the guise of underwear parties, Tuppaware parties, door-to-door as part of home cosmetics sales. Mobile video rental vans attract only passing interest. This is by no means definitive. The possibilities are infinite. And all of these activities are obvious and legitimate. Take place all the time and in full view. In most instances no payment occurs but with each change of hands a small quantity of drugs is taken, prepackaged, from the consignment.

It is not possible to ascertain whether the environments suitable of the actual sales of drugs to the user are chosen or develop. What is certain is that the area will end up in a near derelict state finally dominated by a culture of violence - apparently senseless in focus.

Over-spill estates built in the late 1950s - early 1960s, Provide perfect terrain for sales and final distribution. It must be accepted that the planning decisions made thirty years ago have lead to the development of and expansion of drugs sales and distribution. The careful consideration of the layout and distribution of facilities even the landscaping of the new estates have provided a haven and an ideal environment for drug dealers.

Areas tend, initially, to be quiet and respectable. With a fairly high percentage of older and/or retired persons whose families are in their teens or leaving home.. A garage, a public house and parade of shops will be in close proximity. There often be a community centre. Within half a mile a major supermarket. Houses in the area will be a mix of social housing and privately owned properties, some of which will have been purchased from the local authority. Some the later built ones would have been intended for direct private ownership. Building will have taken place from 1960 to the present day. For the most part the properties will consist of blocks of three terraced standing in clusters of two so that gardens back onto each other with shared rear access. In many cases the houses will face green areas, sometimes squares planted with trees and shrubs. Access to these properties will pedestrian, only about half will face a surfaced roadway. There will be many "twittens", footpaths or connecting alleyways. Garaging will be in separate areas and for the most part not overlooked by the housing accommodation. There will be open car parking areas behind some properties with footpath access from several directions but usually with only one vehicular approach. To give a sense of privacy and separation brick walls high enough to obscure lines of sight will divide these areas into small discrete units. In many cases large distances can be covered on foot or by bicycle in short time periods. Most roads are cul-de-sacs with foot path exit routes.

The public house will become the first target. This will be used as a place of first contact for customers. The landlord will either be encouraged to turn a blind eye to transactions. If he does not comply he will be forced out by violence and continual disturbance. This will be repeated until a compliant landlord takes over the premises. Close by will be several storage points, "shops" frequently one, sometimes more, of these will be in flats over the shopping parade. Movement towards the shops and back attracts little attention. Deals will be set up in the pub and the drugs will then fetched by a runner who will pass the purchase to the buyer outside the premises as he or she leaves. For the sake of security up to five "shops" will be in the area these will all be in private homes and each will handle only or two kinds of drug and each handle deals only of specific sizes. In the event of discovery the losses are minimised and suspicion is less focused. As pointed out earlier, drugs will often return from storage for later distribution after processing, ie cutting and packaging for sale. So that house that had received delivery in the morning will have no drugs on the premises during the day. And will for set periods be trading at night and then be quite clear again except for personal quantities. It is expected that the police will raid on a fairly regular basis. And therefore risks will be minimised. As for arrests, a number of outsiders "wankers" are encouraged to make small obvious, purchases and deals to enable the local drugs squad to make sufficient arrests for the record. Storage of bulk drugs, often brought in by motorcycle, takes place in lockup garages. The packages will be collected from the garage on foot, taken away for process. Returned for storage, and brought out again by motorcycle and on foot/mountain bike for redistribution. Such movement providing it fits a pattern, does not excite interest, rather it lends a sense of security to casual observers.

The main dealer will keep a low profile. He will be a long term associate of those people he employs. He will have most likely been to school with them or have met them through some shared interest which would involve regular contact and some form of financial transaction. The second hand motor trade is a good example. He will very likely have contacts with scrap metal dealers and either be related to or claim a relationship with gypsy/traveller families. He is unlikely to have a criminal record. He will live a respectable life in moderate style. He will not drive an obtrusive car or late model car. But is very likely to possess and expensive and powerful motorbike.

He will own firearms but they will be hidden. His top staff will have been shown these, even will have seen their power demonstrated. They will not have access to these weapons and will have no knowledge of their whereabouts. He will have a financial backer, possibly a retired motor trader/scrap dealer. This person will only appear from time to time at parties and takes no part in any of the day to day running of the business.

The principal dealer will carry out his trade through others. One or two will be persons of violence, if not convictions for violence. Often connected to a gym or sports complex. Possibly with martial arts connections but this is less normal. Any indiscretions or lack of payment are met with maximum violence. If debts go unpaid or theft occurs from drugs in transit. Regardless of whether or not losses are made good. The person responsible is brutally assaulted. The injuries sustained, while designed not to be life-threatening, do for the most part result in permanent disability or scarring. The principal takes no part in such punishments and will always be somewhere else when they occur.

He will have an "accountant" this will be one of his most trusted associates, often college educated, but seldom with accreditation. This person will be aware of most transactions and contact points. He will not know the names of the people he meets at certain places. And these people will change on a regular basis. This person will handle payments for consignments. These are always on a cash up-front basis. Should other arrangements be in operation. Then this is an indication of the presence of a major syndicate.

Payment will be made at "postboxes". The letterbox of an isolated property, apparently inhabited, with good road access. Tower blocks are considered to be for suckers an indicate low level amateur activity. Mobile phones bought legitimately or stolen, reprogrammed and used in areas well away from place of origin provide an extremely valuable communications device. But they only used for a few seconds and here only as a signal to carry out some task or go to some specific location. They are considered to be disposable and are regularly burned or sold in bulk to other areas.

The best couriers are initially considered to be clean. Debts - to the main dealer - are encouraged most usually in terms of payment for a car. This will have been made available cheaply but appears never to be quite paid for, there is always some additional cost. Should complaint be made it will be suggested that a larger or slightly better model be exchanged for the previous model. There will be additional value added by this exchange. This cost can be off offset by further delivery and collection runs. The more runs made, more chance that the driver will need to start taking drugs to stay awake. Extremely powerful (and expensive) sound units will be added to the vehicle in an effort to keep the driver awake. The cars are for the most part small two door saloons. Either Ford or Vauxhall, these not being readily associated with drugs dealers.

Excessive spending is not a problem which will expose the distribution network. Most of those active have jobs of some kind. Their income from the trade is carefully controlled by those who run them. They only ever make reasonable profit. They spend what they get and are always in need of more money. As their involvement grows so do their costs. Families are the best cover and make the best traders. Contrary to common belief, single mothers are considered a liability because they attract outsiders and are more likely to be the focus of police attention as their children grow and start to get into trouble.

The police have very limited powers to deal with the situation outlined above. The geography of the area is against them. Heavily lit throughout the night, an approaching police car is easily spotted; patrol times are carefully logged and all communications monitored by scanner. Taxi-drivers gain benefits for keeping watch on police movements. Unless a major violent incident occurs through some over reaction during a punishment beating. The police will not be called. The chance of any incident being reported is extremely remote given the fear that prevails in an area where dealers have taken control. There will be no witness statements given.

There will be no foot patrols, undermanning takes care of this. If there were they would be no match for the powerful mountain bikes used by the groups. Older people stop going out at night, the pub is avoided and people stay in at night for fear of robbery. This does not stop the homes from being raided during the day or late afternoon. The proceeds of these raids not are not even converted to cash but simply exchanged for drugs, then find their way back into the estates as second-hand goods. It is quite possible to repurchase one's own possessions.

Because of the jealousy over budgets and resources, the various sections of the police and intelligence services do not co-operate as they should. Liaison is absent. Each group does not trust the others with information. A culture of "Don't tell Uniform!" goes hand in hand with "Don't tell CID! Both of these agree not to tell Intelligence anything and Intelligence returns the compliment. H.M.Customs handles its own affairs. The NCIS is unaccountable and SIRCS walks on everybody. Meanwhile, one by one every suburban community in the UK is falling into the hands of dangerous and ruthless criminals. If the gang of mouthy yobs have suddenly disappeared from your local shopping parade. Its not the police that have moved them. They have been replaced by something far worse. You just wait and see!