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Bushrat
10-29-2010, 04:32 AM
I'm working on a novel where the protagonist makes off with a lot of her drug dealer boyfriend's money. He deals in crack and they live in a small town.
For the sake of my plot, the money she steals from him has to be so much that he will get into problems with his suppliers because he owes them, and will make him follow her trail for a couple thousand kilometers to get the cash back.
Having led a sheltered life, I don't have the faintest clue how much money I'm talking about. What would be a realistic sum for a small town crack dealer to have at home?

Captcha
10-29-2010, 05:54 AM
Are you sure you want the drug to be crack? I live in a small town (in Canada, but the cultures are usually pretty similar), and we really don't have crack dealers. Pot and its derivatives, for sure, and meth, but not crack.

In terms of cash - honestly, the dealers in this town are not big time in any way. They're pretty pathetic. I'd think a couple grand would be a huge hit to their finances.

StephanieFox
10-29-2010, 06:28 AM
Crack really isn't the drug of choice, especially in small towns. Meth, on the other hand, is easy to make and is cheap, so I'd recommend either stolen painkillers (like oxycontin) or heroin.

Bushrat
10-29-2010, 09:02 AM
Hm...I am in a remote part of Canada and there's crack up here. My antagonist needs to be fairly nasty, and as far as statistics go, cocaine offences are apparently the most common in Canada, after alcohol and pot. Otherwise I agree that meth would be a good option. Heroin is supposedly not used all that much here, which I find surprising.
I think I'll try googling drug busts and small town names and see if any cash numbers pop up :)

Rowan
10-29-2010, 02:48 PM
I'm working on a novel where the protagonist makes off with a lot of her drug dealer boyfriend's money. He deals in crack and they live in a small town.
For the sake of my plot, the money she steals from him has to be so much that he will get into problems with his suppliers because he owes them, and will make him follow her trail for a couple thousand kilometers to get the cash back.
Having led a sheltered life, I don't have the faintest clue how much money I'm talking about. What would be a realistic sum for a small town crack dealer to have at home?

If you want, PM me with your specifics--location (if fictional, maybe give me a real town it's modeled after), etc.--and I'll help you out. :)

shaldna
10-29-2010, 04:16 PM
I live in a city and we don't really have a crack problem, the main reason is because it's more expensive and harder to get. Bear in mind that most people who buy from drug dealers are young, with the majority in their teens and 20's, these people don't have a lot of cash usually, so a small town won't have enough to support a dealer.

DrZoidberg
10-29-2010, 04:38 PM
It doesn't have to be a lot of money for the various supplying maffias (it's always one maffia or another) to come down incredibly hard. The problem is that many dealers are pretty far gone users and therefore only respond to extreme brutality.... so these maffia types most often do that for everybody. I've heard of people getting both knees smashed for the equivalent of only a couple of hundred dollars.... or even people gotten beaten so hard that they've died. I've heard of people leave the country for years because of a simple misunderstanding. These simple misunderstandings can easily cost people their lives even though nobody lost any money.

These stories are of course very hard to corroborate because there's a colossal amount of bullshit being banded around in this world. A lot of "players" put a lot of effort into building a myth about them and will perpetuate and exaggerate these myths until they believe in them themselves.

Also, numbers from the cops are never accurate. They habitually inflate the "street value" to double of tripple what a kind of drug is worth. Which makes it seem that there's more money in the drug industry than there really is. But it makes the cops look good in the news. The drug dealer busy building a myth about them as high rollers will of course never question the numbers in public. There's a great chapter in the book Freakonomics about the economics of being a drug dealer. It's truly a pathetically badly paid industry.

I even have a friend who was involved with Hell's Angels and got a close look into their drug dealing industry. A long story short is that what little money they make they blow on bikes and hookers. They have very little to show for all their work, and pretty much all they have is their bad ass image. Which is why they do what they do.

PeterL
10-29-2010, 07:09 PM
The Dr is largely right; it wouldn't take a lot of money for someone to want to blow away your character. Many dealers use up the profits, so they don't become wealthy. Then there are the few who have been in business for decades, having a wonderful time and living high on the hog. A small time dealer might do well with $10,000 to 20,000 in capital. Someone a step up would need $100,000 or so at minimum. When you get into major criminal gangs, then there are millions, but the money isn't necessarily dedicated to one industry. They can come up with a few million, but they will have to move something quickly to get the money back into the gambling business (or loans or whatever).

Very few, ir any, dealers are only in a single product. And the smart ones won't deal in their favorite, because that would result in them using up the profit.

As to you specific question, she probably would be stealing less than $10,000.

Kenra Daniels
10-29-2010, 09:41 PM
I live in a very small town, and the drug of choice here is pain pills. The loss of a couple thousand dollars would be a serious hit to a dealer here. It would mean being unable to 're-up' with his supplier, and dissatisfied customers calling every five minutes. I know of a couple of guys who would definitely go after someone if they stole say $2500 from them. Dealers in larger towns would have more money, and could take a larger hit, but would likely still go after the person, even if was simply to set an example.

Bushrat
10-29-2010, 09:43 PM
Thanks, that's great information and really helps. I was thinking that "my dealer" would have some kind of ties to biker gangs - there must be something that would cause my main character not to just flee into the next major city, but disappear off the map.
Are the smaller to mid-sized dealers generally addicted to drugs themselves? Good point about not selling their favourite drug - that makes sense!

PeterL
10-29-2010, 10:29 PM
Thanks, that's great information and really helps. I was thinking that "my dealer" would have some kind of ties to biker gangs - there must be something that would cause my main character not to just flee into the next major city, but disappear off the map.
Are the smaller to mid-sized dealers generally addicted to drugs themselves? Good point about not selling their favourite drug - that makes sense!

Most people in the drug business use some drugs. The term "addicted" has a slippery definition that has changed dramatically over the years, so I don't know whether anyone is addicted.

Bushrat
10-30-2010, 12:41 AM
I would call him addicted if he can't stay off whatever he is using permanently. I have a bit of rather outdated background in working with addicts, so I know about the (generelly short) bouts of staying clean - but if you can't help using again sooner or later, that's what I'd call addiction.

Kenra Daniels
10-30-2010, 07:21 PM
Most of the dealers I know of also use their product. Any profit they make off their wares goes right up their nose.

Rowan
10-30-2010, 11:33 PM
Thanks, that's great information and really helps. I was thinking that "my dealer" would have some kind of ties to biker gangs - there must be something that would cause my main character not to just flee into the next major city, but disappear off the map.
Are the smaller to mid-sized dealers generally addicted to drugs themselves? Good point about not selling their favourite drug - that makes sense!

It wouldn't take much for a drug dealer to disappear off the map. It doesn't even have to be about money...you piss off the wrong person, you're dead. Maybe he rips off another dealer? Maybe he's encroaching on another dealer's turf? Maybe he just looks at a biker/gang banger the wrong way or sells him some crack that isn't up to par, etc.

Life has about as much meaning to some people as a loaf of bread. ;)

Not all smaller to mid-size dealers use or are addicted to their product. Some people just sell or they sell the hard shit (heroin, crystal meth, etc.) and smoke pot or drink. There are always exceptions (as usual). :)

Good luck, Bushrat! Let me know if you have any more questions.

Bushrat
10-31-2010, 01:29 AM
Thanks guys, that's such good information :) I come from a non-fiction background and this is my first foray into fiction writing - guess that's partly why I want to make sure it sounds true. Besides, it always peeves me when I read a novel and come across factual mistakes :rant:

Xelebes
10-31-2010, 01:37 AM
Where is this? Like Fort McMurray and Yellowknife where cocaine is the drug of choice or is it like Fort Chipewyan or Fort Simpson where crystal and Oxycontin are the big names?

Bushrat
10-31-2010, 01:57 AM
No, the drug dealer is on Vancouver Island. I was first thinking Campell River, which I know well, but am more and more tending towards Nanaimo. That and make him a dealer with dreams of expansion.
So the story starts down there and then his girlfriend flees up to the Yukon, into the bush. The drug dealer just features in the beginning and only has one brief appearance later, when he dies.

whacko
10-31-2010, 02:47 AM
Going off on a tangent, could your dealer's dream of expansion have him mixing with the so-called Russian Mafia? Bare with me on this.

Dope shipment from, say Moscow, being sent to the US via Vancouver Island. Why? Easy drop-off point, lax customs etc.

So maybe your dealers saved up $100k, unlikely, or some unknown contact entrusted a suitcase full of notes with him to pay for the shipment.

And if that money disappeared, he'd really be up a certain body of water without the neccessary implements.

Bushrat
10-31-2010, 09:50 PM
Hi Whacko, that would make for a great story :) But I don't want my drug dealer to steal too much of the main character's limelight, so I think I'll keep keep his expansion dreams more local.

Kitty27
11-01-2010, 12:47 AM
I grew up in a the late 90s when crack saturated my neighborhood. I've seen people go batshit over forty dollars. It's not about the small amount of money. It was about maintaining respect. If a dealer let anybody rip him off for even a dollar,he would lose face and other dealers would be on his ass. Hell,the addicts would rob him!

Big time dealers are no different.

Maybe a couple of thousand or so?

backslashbaby
11-01-2010, 01:19 AM
Thanks, that's great information and really helps. I was thinking that "my dealer" would have some kind of ties to biker gangs - there must be something that would cause my main character not to just flee into the next major city, but disappear off the map.
Are the smaller to mid-sized dealers generally addicted to drugs themselves? Good point about not selling their favourite drug - that makes sense!

Depending on how small a town you're talking, crack is very realistic, I think. Crack is very readily available here. I'm sure meth is, too, but it's like different folks are doing that -- more rural here.

The dealers I knew were not addicted, one didn't even use at all, and one did pot or cocaine (not crack). And there was almost no way to hide from them. I don't know what would happen if someone owed them money, actually. I couldn't imagine anyone being that stupid.

Anyway, they knew private detectives, law enforcement -- the works. I never dealt with them other than socially, btw. I'm not that stupid ;)

shaldna
11-01-2010, 02:26 PM
Most of the dealers I know of also use their product. Any profit they make off their wares goes right up their nose.


This is unusual, because most dealers DON'T use their own product. Small time students selling weed, yeah alright, they probably do, but crack dealers, no, not so much.

Prototype729
11-09-2010, 07:47 AM
Heroin is supposedly not used all that much here.
The drug dealer is on Vancouver Island.

Hehehe.

But really you might be interested in this:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/steven_levitt_analyzes_crack_economics.html

Kenra Daniels
11-09-2010, 06:24 PM
This is unusual, because most dealers DON'T use their own product. Small time students selling weed, yeah alright, they probably do, but crack dealers, no, not so much.

The people I know are pretty small time, dealing pain pills. Here, it's customary for the dealer to do a line with the customer to prove they aren't a rat. When they do that on a consistent basis, it isn't long before they're hooked. One person I know, who's the next step up the ladder, supplying several dealers, doesn't use the oxy's she supplies. Instead, she uses Lorcets and Percocets.

Crack and meth aren't so common here, though they're slowly becoming more popular. Heroin was unheard of here until a few months ago when a big-city dealer moved in and set up shop. He didn't last long though, since most people here don't buy from strangers.