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Dealers Line Up to Cash In
by Jeff Briskin
BOSTON. In an ongoing effort to end the scourge of illegal narcotics in Boston’s neighborhoods, Police Commissioner William Gross has declared a new drug buy-back program a success.
Since the “Drugs for Dough” program started in April, Boston residents have exchanged more than 35 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of heroin and 60 kilograms of crystal meth for nearly $6 million in cash.
Given the historic intractability of drug addiction in Boston and residents’ natural suspicion of law enforcement officials, there was a great deal of skepticism that this initiative would reduce the prevalence of narcotics in the city.
“People said it would never work. But look out there—the line’s halfway around the block!” said Gross, proudly pointing to more than 300 people waiting outside the door of the program’s South End headquarters on a rainy Thursday morning.
Dorchester resident Craig Smith, 21, has been participating in the program since it started in April.
“I used to sell cocaine on the corner and risk getting shot or arrested. But now I buy product from my supplier for $40 a gram and turn it in here to The Man for $80. That’s a 100% profit and I don’t have to deal with junkies and hos,” he said.
Smith’s girlfriend, Shenize Miller, 19, agrees.
“Last week I bought an ounce of smack, a gram of blow and 40 Vicodin for $300 and cashed my stash here for $700. Sure beats turning tricks in the alley,” she said.
The success of this program is having enormous effects on Boston’s drug scene. Colombian and Mexican cartels are now diverting shipments of narcotics from New York to Boston. This is rippling down into the city's largest drug syndicates, which are resorting to violence to dominate the lucrative buy-back trade. Only last week, a member of the Alta Luna gang was gunned down while standing in line to cash in the twenty kilograms of uncut cocaine he was carrying in a duffel bag.
“Street value of that blow was half a million, but Five-Oh would’ve paid us one point five,” lamented a lieutenant in the Alta Luna syndicate.
“Soon as we find the mother****** who kept us from participating in this valuable community service we’re gonna cap their asses.”