Wednesday, September 26, 2012

'The kind of house where people sell drugs...'

Narcs say 705 Harlem had all the signs
"Have you ever SEEN a dollar and fifty cent worth of cocaine?" - Richard Pryor

Waco – When the point man on the SWAT team cleared the front door of the dope house, he didn't need the battering ram.

Michael Bucher, a 9-year veteran of the Waco Police Department, testified that all he had to do was give the front door of the “trap house” a gentle shove - and just stroll on in.

The latch was off.

Inside, the brothers Alexander were taking care of plenty business selling crack cocaine rocks and cooking down powder to make the 'cookies' that dealers carve up into one-gram, $10 hits of the deadly addictive drug.

Officer Bucher followed a number of officers who testified about all the details of what to look for in a dope house where no one lives, the kind of place Narcotics Force supervisor Don Patterson calls a “trap house,” but many come and go – day and night – to buy the drug that has made urban life miserable now for at least a couple of generations of Americans.

Pictures made at the scene of the raid clearly show the evidence the officers sought, including a picture of Gary Wayne Alexander wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Married to the game.”

Asked what such a statement could mean, a veteran narcotics officer named Jason Barnham testified over objections by defense counsel that his answer could call for speculation about an area for which he has no subject matter expertise and no training as a photo interpreter.

Most players in the crack cocaine trade call their enterprise, “the game,” that of selling the kind of dope that makes people take leave of their senses and do nothing but hustle and drive back and forth to the dope house non-stop – until the day they either die, or the police put them in jail, a hospital, or a mental institution.

Mr. Alexander has been previously convicted for the same set of charges and sentenced to a prison term of 40 years.

His brother Ulis, who is only 20 years of age, is facing the same set of indictments, offenses for which he could serve as little as 5 years probation, life, or a term not to exceed 99 years.

That's because the charge is enhanced by the location of 705 Harlem, which is exactly 960 linear feet from Future Minds Day Care Center, according to the testimony of an official from the city's Planning Department.

In a hiding place – a hole in the floor under a flap of carpet beside the threshold of the bathroom door in the little house near the Brazos River in north Waco, the officers found a baggie laden with 14 grams of the drug resting on the dirt of the crawl space under the pier and beam foundation.

Said Sergeant Allovido, who was designated as the search officer on that day in May, that's enough dope to kill a true crack addict.

Once they're hooked, they can't think to do anything other than to smoke the crack - until it's all gone.

But there were other signs, including other baggies with their corners torn off. That is a convenient way to package the rocks carved off of “cookies” made from a combination of cocaine, water and baking soda boiled in a Pyrex container over a stove.

Cooking the mixture leaches out the impurities and turns the crystalline powder into a hardened mass.

Individual pieces vaporize almost instantly and make a distinct “crack” when they go up in smoke that penetrates the blood-brain barrier instantly and vaults a loser into a chemical state of nirvana through a massive release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

It's similar to what happens to a normal person who experiences the most mind-blowing, soul-changing, toe-clenching orgasm of their lives.

But there is a cruel catch. Dopamine is manufactured in the brainstem in very small and finite quantities. Once it's been released, there is no more available for long periods of time, which leaves the addict totally convinced that if he doesn't “get off” on one rock, two will get the job done.

Wrong. It never happens that way. What's more, sex is not any good because the neurochemical that makes the pleasure of love making possible – and just about any other kind of pleasure – is simply unavailable and might not be for many, many years of careful and diligent rehabilitation, all of which can go up in smoke with the flick of a Bic any old time an addict decides he was wrong about all that. Things will be different this time, etc.

There's a lot of money in it – that is, the game - according to the Sergeant.

“Stepping on” the powder and cooking rock yields the “28 to 56” formula most rock cooks and dealers rely upon to make their fortunes. For every 28 grams, they are usually able to produce 56 grams of product, and since the addicts are so neurologically impaired, they hardly notice the difference. 

One-tenth of a gram – the size of the average rock, sells for $10, and the customer will be right back for more, cash flow tax free and no questions asked until the day the SWAT team crashes the party, followed by the Drug Force narcotics officers, the bondsmen, the lawyers, the prison guards.

A $900 ounce of powder will yield two ounces of crack, he pointed out.

It's a wild, wild west proposition, this business of selling an illicit substance that can only be grown in South America, shipped to America and cooked in the ghetto kitchens of sad little houses in blighted neighborhoods, he testified.

“Everything is subjective, especially in an industry where there is no regulation. It depends on if you pay cash or if someone fronts it to you.”

To pay $1,400 for 14 grams supplied on the cuff requires much more diligence to make that 100 percent markup than it does to pay a cash price of $350 for the same amount and net $1,050 without first cutting the strength of the product with such bunk substances as baby laxative, baking soda, and sometimes such off the wall stuff as pulverized gypsum from scrap sheetrock.

It's a cruel world.

No doubt.

1 comment:

  1. Yup, those were a common sight when I was growing up during the 90's. It was a crazy time back then, still the level of sophistication is through the roof though mostly commonly they're still going to get caught. I still can't believe they haven't stamped it out completely.