• County Lines

The Drug Dealer- the life of an exploited 20 year old drug runner

I was born and raised in a respected family. I Went to a middle class high school, where I studied hard and received my GCSE. After this I went to college where I finished a level 2 general engineering qualification and 3 A levels in Physics, Maths and Chemistry.

I had great potential and I wanted to become an electrical engineer. But I started to hang around kids with no prospect in life, despite this I managed to get myself a job as a salesman.

It became clear to me this is what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the fast paced work of a salesman and I was on my way to become an account manager of the company.

All my friends had no jobs, they smoked and sold cannabis all day long. I felt the odd one out. Over a period of time, I became bored of the 9 to 5, so I decided to quit my job literally without notice. And this was the beginning of my criminal career.

I had money saved and decided to buy 9 ounces of cannabis and an ounce of cocaine as an investment. For sustenance and for income. I figured if I could sell this in a week, I would be making at the very least 2 grand every week. The math was concrete and the plan was in motion. I had a reliable supplier and trusted customers.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make money by selling drugs, but even more surprised at how easy that money disappears.

But the constant rush of dopamine was exhilarating to say the least. I bought a car which I never bothered to insure, and this was my first crime, driving without insurance. The Police seized the car but I never bothered to recover it. I could easily buy a new one. And I did. The constant income meant that I could afford to buy and drink alcohol anytime I wanted and I was arrested on numerous occasions for drinking and disorderly. I made enemies which meant that I had to carry a knife for protection.

I remember two people who had arranged to meet me to buy cocaine but when I met them they had no money. It dawned on me that this was clearly a set up, they took the two grams of cocaine from and chased me in an alley with a knife and one of them managed to stab me on the back. I shrugged it off, it didn’t really affect my business in any way that mattered, but this cannot go without retaliation. About two weeks later on a night I saw one of the people, I beat him up with a bottle of E&J which I used to smash him in the head with and he ended up in coma for two weeks. I got myself into a few fights where knives were involved, but luckily I never got caught let alone convicted. I became reckless and careless as I started to carry knives even when I was drunk to the point where at one point I was arrested at night in the middle of a fight in possession of a knife. I was charged and found guilty of possession of a bladed article and given 100 hours of community services.

This should’ve deterred me from drug dealing but through community service I met people who had more respect and clout than I did, and I wanted to be just like them.

They were in the crack and heroin business and this is where the big buck is, to do this you need to be ruthless, savvy and above all respected. I figure I was ruthless enough and savvy enough, but I didn't know how the business worked. I didn’t have suppliers or customers but also my friends did not approve. Now through community service I met a supplier, all I needed was customers.

The guy I met (I will call him The Plug) was older than me, from a different city. I knew he wanted to stay in the background, making money while sitting on his ass. He knew i’m local and knew people with cars for delivery and houses to keep the drugs secured and where people could come and buy. For my operation to run undetected I needed a place to put the drugs, at least three houses to run the day to day operations (selling) and a driver on command. I had all of this, and he knew it, I was invaluable to him. It was a win-win situation.

The agreement was reached and he would give me the drugs on consignment and the numbers (customers), the profit would be halved. He would step out the picture and I would run the line. I would dictate most of the operations and choose who I wanted to sell the drugs to. I would also have people sell drugs for me on a day to day basis for a payment, and the flow of money made me feel like a boss.

But you gotta pay the price of being the boss. And in this game the price comes in 4 different forms. Money, violence, jail or mental health.

Within 5 to 6 months of running this line I was caught by undercover police officers, and I was convicted for possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to 2 years. I would serve one year in prison and one year on licence.

Like I said you pay the price. In money, violence, jail time or mental health. In retrospect serving a year in prison for being caught with 2 grand worth of class A drugs is a small price to pay, but that’s 365 days of my life I will never get back. That’s 365 days of being confined to a 4 by 3 meters wall, where you have to share the tiny space with another convict you don’t know. That's 365 days of shitting and pissing in the same space you eat and sleep. That's 365 days of being more used to the smell of a stranger’s shit than to the voice of your mum, loved ones or friends. If you’re into that then I have no doubt you probably deserve to be there. But I hated it. Everything is planned for you, the prison officers who are employed to look after prisoners will not and I REPEAT will not and do not care about you. They have orders to follow and they HAVE to follow those orders. They will pretend to care, but that's for the purpose of making their job easier. Like many convicts I assumed I was special and deserve special treatment and this is where you will become resentful because you will soon realise that you’re not special. You’re just another prisoner with a prison number just like everyone else.

Now every drug dealer has the NEED to be respected. My time in prison brought out the violence in me. The boredom and the lack of freedom to do what I wanted was more than I can bear, but It also elicited fear in me. I became paranoid and suspectful of everyone. Within 3 months in jail I was put in isolation for 2 weeks for being involved in a fight that, because of the need to prove myself, I should never have been involved in. Let me tell you what happens in isolation. You are put in a 4x4 room with a toilet and a bed. That's it. You will stay in this room for 23 hours everyday. You are not to have anything apart from toilet paper, soap and a book. The only thing you will have to entertain yourself is your brain and the voice of other prisoners shouting and demanding things from prison officers who have strict orders to not open that door until it is your time to come out for exercise or there is clear evidence that you’re a danger to yourself. In which case they will just bring in a nurse who will drug you to sleep till the next day anyway. I remember thinking to myself; what did I do wrong? How could this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? I am better than this, I have good grades and I speak and write well enough; so how come I'm surrounded by mentally retarted people who clearly deserve to be here? unlike me. And why am I letting my life be run by low IQ individuals just because they wear a uniform?. Am I just weak, no it can’t be, that's Impossible. I remember hearing a high pitched noise coming out of my right ear and the pain that came with it. I had an earache, it was so painful that my mind tried to ignore it. But it couldn’t ignore it any longer and the high pitch noise was an alert. I called for help from the officer on duty that night, he didn’t respond until it was sunrise. The prick waited until his shift was over for him to respond to my call. I was furious, how could he do this TO ME? What about his duty of care FOR ME? I shouted, screamed and lashed out all the swear words in the dictionaries but there was no response for hours. He then comes to me with “how can I help you?”. I thought to myself, if it wasn’t for this 12 inch reinforced steel door separating me from the world I would kill you, but I was weak from sleep deprivation so I decided to play it cool and replied “Go suck your mum”. He looked me in the eye, angry from having to deal with the abusive prisoners all night, he just walked away without a word. I thought I had won that battle but to my surprise he came back with two other officers, opened my door and gave me a beating. I was kicked, punched, kneed and punched again and when they were satisfied they quickly ran out of that cell, shut the door and then asked me why I was calling for an officer all night long. I noticed the rush of adrenaline through my veins, that physical pain was not only more bearable than the mental torture, it was euphoric. And at the very moment, I learned why there’s so much violence in jail.

And on it went for a year. I would get bored, depressed and lonely. I would feel the urge to scream at someone, to blame someone for being in this situation. I would feel how disappointed my family was in me, I would go for days without eating or talking to anyone. I would spend money to buy food from the canteen. I didn’t like prison food much so I would buy a lot of tuna and mackerel, onions, tomatoes, couscous etc only to cook it in a fucking kettle. Over time Your friends will stop picking up your phone calls, the girl you thought will ride for you will want nothing to do with you. You will definitely not like most people you meet in jail, any friendship you make is not real. You will see people who will do anything to get themselves in debt for spice.

Everyday you will wake up trying to put a smile on your face but you will be reminded by other inmates how sad and pathetic it is to be in this position as they shout and scream for the attention of prison officers only to be ignored for hours.

But the biggest regret you will have is that the person you thought will look after you in this situation, the person that put you on, the one who showed you how to make money in this game, will stop picking up your phone calls when he realises you’re no longer an asset. And for me this should have been my second wake up call.

When I got released, I still had a little bit of money saved but I had spent most of it whilst in jail. I worked as a delivery driver for a bit and then as a labourer. It didn’t take two months for me to be pulled back into drug dealing. The same guy called me and we arranged to meet up. I was back in, but this time things seemed to be going too fast. I was doing too much and selling more than I could keep up with. I started to lose control, I didn’t have the same leverage I had when we started. People were not willing to let me sell drugs from their homes, I didn’t have anyone who was willing to drive me about on a permanent basis and all this The Plug had to provide which meant that he was more involved and it became a matter of control. I never stayed in bandos but this time bandos were the only place I could sell drugs from. I became more withdrawn from my family whom I had promised I would never go back to drug dealing. I noticed this time The Plug’s involvement became more controlling. It felt as if I had been transferred from prison to another prison rather than being released. The people I was selling to this time were known drug users in the city which made them stand out when they came to pick up drugs from me, which in turn made me an easy target for the police and other sellers. The money I was making was disappearing quicker than I could count it. I was smoking more weed than ever and was drinking more alcohol just to keep up the pace. I was meant to be the man in charge, but I didn’t feel like I was in charge. Even the respect I was getting, It meant nothing if it didn’t come from me. But overall the one thing I forgot all this time, the only ONE thing I should’ve remembered was that The Plug never picked up the phone more than once when I was in jail. This is what I never accounted for, that The Plug never cared for me. He knew I am trustworthy and loyal to the end and he knew I would never betray that trust and loyalty, he knew I was resourceful enough to run a drug operation, but also knew that I stand by my principles and he cleverly exploited my loyalty. This realisation alone, was enough to see things clearly through the facade.

When I realised this, it became more and more apparent to me what exactly was happening. I was spending money to pay people whose house I was using, I was also paying people to drive me about, I would spend money on food and some buyers would come short; all of which would come out of my wage. After making some calculations it meant that I was making far less money than The Plug was making because he didn’t have to spend it on these things. I had to recalculate how I will run this line more efficiently, “NO” I thought to myself “I am not happy with the arrangement”, at this time I wanted out. I realised I was chasing unnecessary things I didn’t need, I didn’t have respect for myself because I felt like I was being played, the money would come and go quicker then a blink of an eye and I still felt like I was in prison. Another thought occured to me; I just came out of prison for drug dealing and am on licence, I must be on the police list of people they need to observe carefully. And seven months dealing drugs on licence I was stopped, searched and arrested for possession with intent to supply, this time I had £1200 in cash and 2 stones of crack. I spent the night in police custody but was released under investigation. I had covered my back well, the police couldn’t prove that I was selling the 2 stones of crack they found on me and I had receipts that proved that I had withdrawn £500 and £400 the previous two days respectively. They couldn’t charge me for not proving where I got the rest from. The likely scenario is that they wanted to give me enough rope to hang myself with, but this time I will use that rope as a bridge to cross to the other side.

Now after I was released from police custody, I called The Plug to let him know what had happened. He became angry, in his anger he confirmed everything that had occurred to me that at the end of the day, he didn’t care about me, whether I go to jail or not. Because that’s exactly what he said to me. It was about the money, of course it was, there’s no doubt about that, but life is also about who you get the money with. Do they really care about you? And the answer is NO. I have always been trustworthy and loyal to people that I interact with, I am smart enough to see through people’s intentions and I am very capable of running a drug business, but I can admit to you that my loyalty was exploited. I couldn’t see beyond the immediate gratification. When The plug confirmed my earlier suspicions, I cut all contact off, I decided I will move on to the next chapter of my life no matter what.

It doesn’t matter how hard it will be, It doesn’t matter if people will not respect me as a drug dealer, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.

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