The AP reports that Brazilian drug lords are colluding to get rid of crack cocaine even though it will result in millions of lost dollars. Why? Because crack customers have made their jobs unmanageable:
“Rio was always cocaine and marijuana,” [former police chief Mario Sergio Duarte] said. “If drug traffickers are coming up with this strategy of going back to cocaine and marijuana, it’s not because they suddenly developed an awareness, or because they want to be charitable and help the addicts. It’s just that crack brings them too much trouble to be worth it.”
A lawyer for the gangs confirms this:
Nonetheless, the other gangs are signing up, said attorney Flavia Froes. Her clients include the most notorious figures of Rio’s underbelly, and she has been shuttling between them, visiting favelas and far-flung high-security prisons to talk up the idea.
“They’re joining en masse. They realized that this experience with crack was not good, even though it was lucrative. The social costs were tremendous. This wasn’t a drug for the rich; it was hitting their own communities.”
As Froes walks these slums, gingerly navigating potholed roads in six-inch stiletto heels and rhinestone-studded jeans, men with a gun in each hand defer to her, calling her “doutora,” or doctor, because of her studies, or “senhora,” or ma’am, out of respect.
“While stocks last, they’ll sell. But it’s not being bought anymore,” she said. “Today we can say with certainty that we’re looking at the end of crack in Rio de Janeiro.”
(HT: Peter Feddo)