Crime Often Drives Drug Sales
by Ned Wicker
A few years ago, while enjoying a cup of coffee and doing my usual morning routine of surfing the net, I came by a USA Today article by Kevin Johnson stating that over 1 million gang members in the United States are responsible for 80% of the crime, and are the “primary retail distributors of illicit drugs.” These criminal gangs are the other face of drug addiction, the purveyors of death and misery.
Understand that in order for gangs to be interested in drug trafficking, there has to be huge money in it, mainly because there is also huge risk. The FBI, for example, is always monitoring gang activity. The Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center will release a report that outlines these startling numbers.
“A rising number of U.S.-based gangs are seemingly intent on developing working relationships” with U.S. and foreign drug-trafficking organizations and other criminal groups to “gain direct access to foreign sources of illicit drugs,” the report concludes. Gang populations are growing and according to the unpublished report, the membership has increased 200 thousand since 2005. While over 900 thousand are on the street, nearly 200 thousand more are in prison. These numbers are only estimates.
Gangs are everywhere. They operate on school campuses, finding new, unsuspecting customers for the illegal drugs they peddle. This puts additional stress on law enforcement. There are emerging criminal gangs, such as those who follow the migration paths of immigrant workers. There are the traditional outlaw motorcycle gangs. A Salvadoran gang, called MS-13, has been on the rise. Known for its extreme violence, the gang is now operating in 42 states.
Gangs exist because there is a market for drugs and other illegal activities. Suburban high school students, with lots of spending money, are prime targets. No one would suspect them of using illegal drugs, so they are perfect customers. Illegal drug users must, by the very nature of the activity, live in the shadows, protecting their dealers by protecting their own social image. They live in “good” homes and their parents are successful. Little Johnny’s clean cut reputation is just what the criminal needs to fly under the radar. The gangs move in and out, always on the move, to keep business flowing.
New drug dealers come every year
Thousands of potential new gang members immigrate to this country every year, without employment, without prospects and so they turn to crime to support themselves. Even more potential gang members are growing up in cities and small towns all over the country, because selling drugs, although high risk, has high rewards.
Why work for a paycheck when you can score big money dealing? In this time of economic downturn, the economic upturn of selling drugs is alluring. The community bears the brunt. People become addicted, crimes are being committed, and slowing but surely the fabric of society is shredded. There are no more morals, no sense of right and wrong, and the problem perpetuates. People use drugs, criminals sell them. They feed off each other.
Heroin, cocaine and marijuana lead the way in drug sales. They flow into this country from all parts of the world like rivers of destruction. They eventually kill what they touch, but some are lucky and overcome. Law enforcement does its best to control the flow of illegal drugs. From time-to-time the authorities make a significant bust and gang members are tried and sentenced. But others rise up and take their place, because there is a market. The big lie of illegal drugs is that they are a solution to problems. Take the drugs and feel better, or sell the drugs and get rich.
Certainly can’t eliminate the illegal drug market
I don’t know how we can eliminate the market for illegal drugs, other than simply not using them. In America, we turn to the next guy and ask him to solve the problem. It’s up to the cops, or up to the judges and the prisons to deal with it. It’s up to the individual. Parents need to be involved with their kids. Schools need to partner with parents and teach kids about the enormous dangers of drugs, both the physical dangers and the legal dangers. Governments all over the world need to crack down on the growing and manufacturing process. Pardon me for being a cynic, but big money is involved, so even some heads of state will turn the other way to get their cut.
The problem isn’t going to go away until regular people demand that the illegal drug use and drug trafficking stops. I wish I had the answer to that problem.