The Death Of The Drug Culture’s Social Contract

The Con

The measure of a man among those of us at NYU’s Brittany Hall was the ability to cop (buy) drugs for oneself. The guys on the third floor who gave me $20 to score them a couple of dimes from the dealers who operated from the flower stand on 10th Street just east of 2nd Ave. were not real men. Yes, they had the good looking women hanging around but their drugs were ill gotten in the parlaynce of the drug culture. (Had I not been so intent on goofing on those clowns, I would have charged them more than a six-pack of Genny Cream Ale for my trouble.).

These days, with the advent of the Internet, the cell phone etc., finding a dealer is no longer a matter of putting hair on your chest. Now a phone call a meet, a few bucks changes hands and bingo – the dope is all yours. The kids today think scoring (the word copping is considered the providence of an older generation.) on the street is ‘so ghetto.’ Those in the drug culture now have the business cards of the dealers they prefer and pass them around.

There appears to be a degree of safety in being able to call your dealer, thus proving the lessons of The Wire have been lost on this generation. However, street dealers were careful and vetted their clientele as they came to cop – call it the Drug Culture’s Social Contract. Dressing like a prep, like a hardcore punk, like a grunge maniac with a runny nose before any sort of business relationship had been established was a sure fire way not to get your dope. You would have to go around the block several times of the course of a couple of hours in order to prove you weren’t a cop. Today? Not so much.

From the New York Post

NYU dorm-dwellers got a little more than their money’s worth from the Village Voice newspapers in their corner honor boxes: business cards advertising a massive, 24-hour drug delivery service.

A pair of enterprising entrepeneurs advertised their delivery service by removing stacks of the free papers from their honor boxes, paper-clipping a business cards to each one, then returning them to the box, officials said.

“I have seen loads of Craigslist cases,” said an incredulous Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward, in setting bail for the pair at a whopping $1 million each.

“But I’ve never seen something as inventive as this. So this is actually something a little different for me.”

The business — whose cards bore either a “Coca Cola” logo or a picture of a livery car with the words “Purple Rain…Up in Smoke” — had acquired some 200 customers, said city Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in a joint press release.

A four-month investigation revealed that the service delivered marijuana and low-cost but high-grade cocaine to customers’ doorsteps, targeting a clientele of university students and the bar crowd in the East Village and Lower East Side.

Two men, drug felons Thomas “Biggie” Zenon and Miguel “G” Guzman, pleaded not guilty today in Manhattan Supreme Court to multiple counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Each pleaded not guilty today — but were unable to convince

On the busiest nights, each of the cell phones listed on the cards registered 170 in-coming and outgoing calls, officials said.

The service was first discovered last fall, when one of the doctored Voices was picked up by an anonymous tipster, who recognized the business cards for what they were, Brennan and Kelly said in a joint press release.

The tipster is a senior-level Manhattan court officer, said a law enforcement source.

The paper was in an honor box outside a New York University dorm at 10th St. and Third Avenue, officials said.

Cops learned the cards had also been stuck inside the doors of apartments in a high-rise building in Tribeca, among other locations, officials said.

Undercovers bought coke and marijuana from the pair on a dozen occasions, with sales typically made inside the delivery cars. Grams of coke went for just $60, what officials termed “an unusually low price for a delivery service.”

The biggest two sales were for a half-ounce of cocaine at $1,000 each, officials said.

Guzman, 43, of North Bergen, NJ, was busted last night as he allegedly got ready to make a delivery to a customer on the Upper West Side. He was carrying 16 grams of cocaine, more than $1,600 cash and four cell phones — and a small stack of the “Coca-Cola” cards.

Zenon, 40, a probationer for was busted last night inside a restaurant in Washington Heights. Cops found 20 bags of marijuana inside a coffee thermos in his car, as well as more “Purple Rain” cards, officials said.

Guzman was busted last night as he got ready to make a delivery to a customer on the Upper West Side. He was carrying 16 grams of cocaine, more than $1,600 cash and four cell phones — and a small stack of the “Coca-Cola” cards.

Both men have federal and/or state-level convictions for drug sales dating back from 2003, officials said.

The $1 million bail was set over the objections of both men’s lawyer, Barry Weinstein, who argued, “In all these months, they were unable to get an A1 sale out of these guys. These are not giants of industry.”

It’s rare you can put a date on the end of anything. However 1/21/11 will be remembered as the day the Social Contract of the Drug Culture was finally buried.

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