Good article at Philly.com: Law enforcement likes getting realliy high off drug busts
IT HAPPENS before the news conference, before the plastic-wrapped bricks of dope are arranged on the table for the TV cameras and before headlines are made.
Cops calculate the “street value.” It’s a branch of mathematics in which economies of scale meet public relations.
By envisioning thousands of transactions that will never occur — and sometimes padding the numbers on top of that — law-enforcement agencies can wind up doubling, tripling, quadrupling, quintupling, sextupling or even septupling what the confiscated drugs are worth to the bulk-level dealers who got popped.
In the hands of a narcotics cop with a calculator, $2 million of heroin can become $9 million, $500,000 worth of meth can become $2.5 million, coke worth less than $1 million can become several million.
We’ve often noted the inflated values given by law enforcement and this article gives numerous examples.
Of course, the real problem is that the entire public relations game of showing off seizures is nothing more than blatant self-promotion. It has nothing to do with public safety. When a large shipment is seized, it doesn’t matter if you call it $1 million or $10 million — it’s merely a minor and temporary inconvenience to the economics of the black market and has no real impact on supply.