1. None of what follows, with the exception of #3, is universally applicable to any situation you will encounter wherever you are and act as your “Get out of jail before you go to jail” card. What I write, and what others may write, will only be in our experiences and viewpoints that will strive to appeal to your common sense and safety.
2. A Narc can be loosely defined as an undercover police officer or, more rarely, a civilian who is wearing a wire.
3. You still need to be sharp and well-rounded to adapt to new situations without resorting to your old friends, laziness and greed.
PREPATORY WORK - ESTABLISH YOUR LIMITS
Learn your state drug laws (Possession, Sales) and pay attention to what you stock or what you may be interested in. Critically, you must find out the difference between what’s an acceptable risk and what is not, which is in my opinion a misdemeanor versus a felony. This translates into the most you will sell in a transaction and the most you will carry on you at any given time.
In New York state, possession of any amount of cocaine is automatically a B Felony. Selling over a half ounce is an A2 felony, and anything over two ounces is an A1 felony. A B felony is bad, an A2 felony is worse, but an A1 felony is crippling - on the equivalent of manslaughter. If you sell cocaine, you have the option of not selling anything over 13g, or, preferably, see that selling coke is not worth it because whaaat you just found out that pot has its own chart and pot penalties are sooo much lighter than coke or heroin? (Seriously, you’d need to sell pounds to be in the same category of trouble as harder drugs - but remember, that doesn’t make it inherently safer, just better if you get caught)
WHO DO YOU TRUST?
Obviously, no one except family - and that’s rarely a receptive audience for this topic at the dinner table. Friends is a word which is bandied about much more frequently than it should. Especially drug-friends who you may only see when there are drugs present and rarely if ever otherwise. But they’re alright, and their customers, and so long as their behavior is normal there’s no reason for them to fall victim to a persecution-complex. There’s no reason to be generally suspicious unless you have cause to, which should only be when you’re directly legally vulnerable whilst you’re a) selling or b) possessing. Try to enshrine these activities of selling and possessing, sanctify them in your habit, and when they become rituals to you any deviation from your established doctrine will serve as a tripwire and immediately grab your attention.
PRIMER - DISSECTING A BUY FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Ultimately, narcs want you to sell drugs to them. It’s possible to sell to an undercover informant (UI) - also known as your ex-friend - whose wearing a wire, but as I understand it’s not very common because a) he’s not a trained narc and b) he would have to be wearing a wire which means a probability of c) if you go to trial the informant will have to take the stand and testify rather than the narc which could blow not only his credibility but also his ‘anonymonity’. The only personal example I’ve heard of was of someone high in the hierarchy of a Bloods gang in the city which dealt in coke. He wore a wire when he asked his leader for a resupply, presumably because new introductions and sales simply can’t be made at that level. The leaders wife was with him and absentmindedly helped pass it to the UI - both the leader and his wife for leverage were charged with felony sales. But usually everything being equal and you being a person who will take new customers, a narc will prefer the informant to introduce him to you as a friend who wants to buy instead of risking the informant on doing the buy himself.
Narcs are also seeing you from the angle of charges and an ultimate conviction. Them buying from you once is sufficent, but not ideal - a portfolio of charges is ideal. If you don’t know any better, a ladder will be formed where the lowest rung are the most dismissable and least worrisome charges and the top rung is the one which the Assistant District Attorney will use to smack you repeatedly over the head with. It goes hand in hand with the temporary relationship you have with your narc - he’ll buy in small quantities, cultivating your trust with greenbacks and buy his way up tilting the scales in his favor until so many charges are arrayed against you it’s an unfortunate open and shut case.
WHAT IS SUSPICIOUS? POSSIBLE WARNING SIGNS
Please take these signs not as a binary he’s a narc/he’s not a narc but more of a general indicator like the DSM-IV. The more things checked off, the better the likelihood it’s right.
Your friend calls you out of the blue and asks if you have any hard drugs available which you may or may not have (to check your inventory). His request may also seem odd due to him rarely buying hard drugs and/or buying it in larger then normal quantities to entice your greed ($20 bags were the norm but he now asks for an eight-ball - which costs three digits)
Your friend may ask you to meet him at another place even though he used to just stop by your house or apartment (probably because you wouldn’t let a stranger in your place who you never met before when your friend was the one who wanted to buy; see below)
You meet up with your friend and you immediately notice two things as you pull in the parking lot: 1) he’s not alone, and 2) he’s sitting shotgun.
After walking up to the vehicle and saying hi to your friend the driver will introduce himself and invites you to sit in the back, apologizing for the mess back there and thus positioning you so that you’re sitting directly behind your friend (hampering face to face contact with your friend but facilitating communication with driver).
The driver of the vehicle will look older, at least in his late-20s or early-30s. For you dealers at college in your late-teens or early-20s it should be noticable that this guy is way old.
The driver immediately talks … and talks … and talks aggressively. Your friend will hardly say another word except for “Seeya” when you leave. Meanwhile, the driver will say he does something lucrative and impressive, such as preparing stripper parties in the county over (which is a answer that works well for coke, MDMA, diverted pharmaceuticals, whatever). You think to yourself, well hey, this seems like a good guy to know …
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU MAY HAVE MET A NARC! NOW WHAT? CONFIRM YOUR SUSPICIONS.
What will follow in this section will sound silly, but if you’ve come to this point it makes more sense to just walk away from the situation. I didn’t think this required mentioning either, but:
“Contrary to popular belief, officers never have to tell the truth when you ask them if they’re a cop.”
You can ask them all day long and they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear up until they cuff you. Cops are under no obligation to tell you jackshit except your rights. If you’re about to hawk an illegal firearm, share your schemes of robbery or murder, or sell drugs, asking him if he is a cop is not only a fools hope but will underscore your experience if you’re talking to real dealers.
Availability. This is admittedly weak, but has a possibility to be useful and whose logic should be shown regardless. Police officers work on a day/night schedule on alternating weeks (as an example, one week they’re 7AM-7PM and the next week their 4PM-2AM). You don’t need to know the police depts entire monthly schedule, but see that it serves as a constraint on their availability. If you meet a suspicious person on tuesday at 11PM, see if he can meet you instead tomorrow before noon.
Jurisdiction. A much more stronger if not the best way to out a narc. Generally, informants are limited in their cooperation to the county they were arrested in. An informant suggesting a bust in a neighboring county would be unable to since the crime falls under another countys jurisdiction. Unless you’re dealing in such high amounts that you warrant federal attention - in which case, God Bless - any potential police attention you will receive will be from local county cops whose sources of information include scared teens who you might be your customers. Being county officers means that they must stay in their county for the transactions in order to charge you. So if you have the means to (such as living with 30 minutes of the county border and a car), see what the response is in asking to move the locale out-of-county in a reasonable manner.
Offer the driver a joint, whether you have one on you or not. Although narcs can ingest drugs, it doesn’t mean they will (I assume it’s the paperwork and the fact that there isn’t a good reason for them to say yes to you). This is admittedly a poor indicator since regular people could refuse, but maybe you’ll get surprised if he does accept.
Offer your friend a joint. If he’s now a turncoat working against your cause (vive la you!) he will no longer be able to smoke pot or do drugs of any kind and will have to refuse your generous offer. Now this can get technical - if he’s out rounding dealers it’s to count as credit for his punishment which is yet to be served, that is to say, he isn’t being drug tested yet since that happens after he gets sentenced. So, technically, he could smoke, but he wouldn’t want to, and he especially wouldn’t in front of his narc.
If both your friend and the driver refuses (we’re spaced for time, you see, I must head off to work quickly - I do construction as you can tell by my clothes - and then see those strippers *wink*), isolate your friend. Exit the vehicle, and beckon him to come. Once he’s pulled out of the orbit of the narcs presence you’ll be more able to question him specifically on how the two of them met. I honestly can’t fathom this not working in pulling back the curtain because I’m sure his body language is going to be all sorts fucked up and their stories won’t match at all.
You can now walk away, amazed at your own ingenuity and ability to look death right in the eye and laugh, but before you go to the bank with that smirk on your face you’ll have to cleanse yourself first. Even though you avoided his trap, it’s likely that your friend gave his narc all the attending info he knew about you - where you live, what car you drive, and what your cell # is, and just because you escaped this time doesn’t mean that it won’t go on file and that you won’t get additional scrutiny down the road.*
For all that I wrote you may never see this scenario unfolding before your eyes. Maybe you live in the city and things just don’t work like this because it’s nearly the same, but not just enough. Or you live in a boring town with boring cops who actually will spend their time and energy finding and busting nickel and dime pot dealers (in contrast, my county doesn’t even bother with seeking out pot dealers unless it’s on the scale of Cartoon Network - the buy money is just not worth it when coke/h/x/pharm felonies are so much cheaper to get in comparison). So adjust this to suit your needs even if you never meet a friend whose strangely being driven by an older gentleman you’ve never seen before.
One more thing - the random hookup. If you establish a network of clients you will inevitably get a call from a friend who has a friend whose looking, or an unknown calls you and says he’s friends with your friend and that you came reccomended. In both cases it’s an extra degree of relations and you’re left without a bearing where this person could be a narc or he comes with a driver who is narc as above, but you don’t know either of them well enough to prove or disprove it other than the joint method. I don’t have a solution to this problem where it could be determined straight away while your on the phone or in the parking lot with them. The only thing I can suggest which is tinged with Machiavellian self-interest is if your friend trusts them so, to see if he would act as the middleman between you and them. And if he needs to stop and think about it, perhaps it should give you pause too.
*Literally. Although I hope none of you would get this deep in the game, I once talked to a man who was both clean as a whistle and dirty as a pig-pen since the cops could never catch him in the act and gained much notoriety for his flagrent behavior (You ain’t got shit on me, and you know it cop!) It didn’t take very long until they bent a few laws to push him in a corner and get him arrested - again and again - just to show him whose really in control.
12 April 2008
Posted by Frank Serpico at 9:47 PM