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By Zanan Rahma
In January, Scotland Yard conducted its largest-ever, simultaneous drug raid and unveiled a gang, which had funnelled over £100 million of cocaine onto the streets of London.
Earlier this month, a Little Venice drug dealer was imprisoned after he accepted a shipment of 40kg of cannabis; and two Colombian drug dealers were jailed after being caught with over a million pounds of cocaine in their possession.
Drugs aren't limited to just homeless people and reckless teens, bankers, students, parents, teachers and even those you'd least expect do it occasionally at least. Drug-deals happen in front of our very eyes on the streets around us, but it's rare that we'd notice due to the very discreet nature of drug dealers, desperate not to get caught.
Drug laws and enforcement seem to have had a minimal impact on the overall state of drugs in the city. I spoke to a young woman who uses drugs on an occasional basis and she told me why they chose to take drugs and how she goes about getting it.
Then, I managed to speak to a young dealer who explained his struggle and how he deals on London's streets whilst dodging surveillance cameras and undercover police vehicles and personnel.
All those interviewed, requested to remain anonymous, so, I have altered their names in order to protect their anonymity.
Dee: 24 years old, Earls Court, London.
Which drugs do you use and how long have you used them for? "I'm a recreational user of Coke, Weed and Ecstasy" Dee said. "I started experimenting with drugs when I was at college, and now it's just a weekend or party thing".
Where do you get your drugs from and how exactly? "I get my drugs from a friend of a friend, who's a dealer. I basically give him a call and we meet in a pre-designated place in London. I jump into his car; he drives around as the exchange happens and then I get dropped off somewhere nearby. Pretty simple and convenient," Dee explained.
Why did you choose to deal drugs in London and how did you get started? "I don't see what else I can do to make good money in this city" he said, "I dropped out of school, I just wasn't academic enough to do well so I decided to work, I got paid in peanuts, couldn't pay my rent or my bills let alone feed and clothe myself. A friend of mine was working as a runner for some dealers in the area, he was making great money, it got me tempted so I started then".
Where do you do your deals and how do you avoid detection? "I meet people in my car in many different places and I change cars regularly. I work during the day as well as at night but I avoid hot areas (ones with much police presence) like Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush and stick to the wealthier areas like Marylebone and Knightsbridge". What's your biggest worry as a drug dealer? "Getting nicked (arrested) obviously. I don't want to spend time in jail and I don't want to let my family down. So far, my luck's been good and I've been around for a while, lets not jinx it though" he smiled.