From the outside lookin in, I’m currently imprisoned because I’m a big-time cocaine dealer, serving time for a delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance 50-499 grams, or colloquially known as an over 50 charge. At the risk of detracting from my street cred, I’ll be the first to admit the reality is closer to the opposite, and in a lotta ways, illustrates and exposes the general idiocy and official corruption caused by the drug war.
I’ve never considered myself a “drug dealer”. By that I mean I was never in possession of large quantities of drugs that I intended to sell for profit. If the cops ever raided my place, the only time they’d discover dugs would be on a plate about to be snorted. Otherwise, I never had a stock set aside for others or the future(i.e. next week). I did “middle-man” deals in order to support my own habit, but that was the extent of my kingpin empire. I was never the plug.
During the last year preceding my arrest, I did grow close to the actual plug, or, at least, I had thought of us as friends. At the same time, I was partly terrified of him. He was prone to violence, owned a gun illegally, and exhibited incredible pettiness.
For example, I once arranged for a friend to buy a decent amount of coke from him. Bigs, as I called him, was on his way to deliver the product when my friend backed out. When Bigs arrived, I explained the situation and offered the little money I did have in exchange for some blow, albeit less than originally agreed upon, just so this wouldn’t be a complete waste of his time. Instead, he took the money, struck me in the face, and drove off, leaving me empty-handed.
That incident should’ve ended our relationship altogether, but in the confused mind of an addict, your dealer often switches from being your best friend to your worst enemy and then back again. He called back days later to apologize but without making any kind of meaningful amends. This established a behavioral pattern that would characterize our relationship: his angry outburst, my non-reaction, his empty apology.
My fatal mistake was assuming that anyone I showed so much compassion for would never return my kindness with outright malice. So, when he first suggested that I sell some xanax to one of his custos, I didn’t recognize the ploy for what it was.
Bigs explained that he had a white guy in Westland to whom I could sell some xanax and cocaine. The first issue was that my xannie supplier no longer had them (or so he told me); I was getting coke from Bigs. The other was that I was getting my shit straight and wanted to cease middle-manning anything.
Regardless, I had no product, no money to buy anything, and no interest to sell anything to this dude. A month or two passed after the initial proposition; nothing happened. Until one day, I returned from my girlfriend’s house to find Bigs waiting at my place, asserting that we’ve got to go meet up with the dude in Westland. When I asked why it was so urgent, he just said, brusquely, that he gave his word and we’d been putting it off for too long. “Plus,” Bigs added, “you owe me money. You can make a few bucks to pay me back.”
(I really didn’t lose him money. In fact, I had already paid him back, but I was a few days late, because I was in the hospital, having overdosed on drugs he sold me. Since I was there for 3 days, he wanted $30 for each day tardy, so $90 in total. I initially refused and laughed at such a ridiculous demand. He responded by strangling me in my kitchen. His crack head sidekick eventually restrained him with commonsense.)
When we arrived at the bar where we were set to meet this dude, we parked and then Bigs handed me the teener in the car as he explained that he gonna make the introduction and lemme handle the entire deal. We walked inside and sat at the bar. While we waited for his “customer”, I snuck off to the bathroom to do a few lines from the very same bag I was supposed to sell–a vivid illustration of my ultimate endgame in all this.
As I came walking back, high as fuck, Bigs was sitting with a square-looking, fat white dude, who ordered us all a shot when I sat down. Bigs then promised this slob I’d be able to hook him up from here out. I was a little nonplussed and taken aback (hadn’t he already been doing business which Bigs? I thought).
We talked business briefly; some of his comments struck me as incongruent with my understanding of the situation, which was: since he really wanted the xannies, which Bigs did not have access to, at least the amount I did, I’d sell him those as well as coke since I would already be dealing with him. But the xanax seemed like an afterthought to him. Plus, he looked and talked like such a fucking square dork that his only use for coke would be to incentivize the hookers, which he undoubtedly needed as his only sexual outlet, and who, just as assuredly, hesitated at the prospect of sleeping with this poorly put together specimen. But I was too zooted to voice these qualms, or even consider them seriously.
We quickly exchanged dope for money under the bar, and then departed. Immediately upon getting in the car, I subtly grilled Bigs on how he had met fat Steve. He casually described how another custo introduced them two months ago and had been doing business with him since then. “But I’m too busy now to drive out here and serve him,” he explained. “I told him we’re only doing large quantities from here on out so you can make a lotta coin for a little work twice a month.”
About a week later, that same dude, or “fat Steve” as I had him saved in my phone, hit me up for a lot of coke. $3000 worth to be exact. Bigs already groomed me to expect dealing with larger quantities, so that part didn’t surprise me. What did bother me was that he didn’t even ask about bars, which was ostensibly the reason for my involvement. Now my role seemed superfluous
I replied that I didn’t have that much (or any, for that matter) but Bigs did. He said Bigs said that I’d be able to take care of him no matter what. I didn’t know what he meant by that so I called Bigs to relate what was going on.
I distinctly recall Bigs calling fat Steve a racist for never wanting to spend that much money with “the black guy”. and then, to my utter surprise, he offered to front the dope, which he rarely did, even with little shit like a half g. Bigs let it slip that he was already in Westland so I suggested that he call up fat Steve so they could arrange to meet for the deal much sooner than I could, which only resulted in an angry nonsensical outburst, ending in his assertion that I had to do it because I still owed him $40, and he promised fat boy that I was, essentially, the man.
However, Bigs refused to drive me there, which was disconcerting since he literally escorted me the previous week. Typically, he was straight with driving and reluctant to hand product over without money. To be honest, I felt suspicious of this reversal of behavior and fat Steve’s off key vibe, like a square trying to be a trapezoid. Yet, the looming threat of facing Bigs’ ire overruled these concerns, and I placed my trust that Bigs–someone I had gone out to the bars with plenty of times, introducing him to a bunch of girls and a customer base he’d never have access to without me, someone who was at the strip club with me and some close friends just a few days prior–was not leading me astray, or letting me get blindsided.
After an hour or two, he arrived at my place with the shit. As he set it on the scale, the bag weighed out to 55 grams. I immediately scraped off 7 grams, so it came to 48 grams. Bigs stared at me incredulously, as if he didn’t expect me to skim some off the top. He started yelling that I couldn’t fuck this up, that I couldn’t short the sack my first time dealing with him alone.
I was ignorant of the 50 gram laws of the time (because selling drugs wasn’t my occupation), so I stupidly assumed Bigs was trying to introduce some integrity to the proceedings. What he was actually doing was fulfilling his end of the bargain with the authorities by giving them someone on an over 50 charge.
As he was putting the dope in my hand, Bigs stared me in the eye and threatened that I couldn’t just return with the dope and no cash; I had to bring him back the cash or else he would go to my family’s house and get it from them. I shrugged it off as bluster and didn’t consider it applicable because I planned on going thru with the deal. In retrospect I perceive it as the coercive tactic it was.
Next, he dumped a half gram on a plate for me; I chopped it up quickly, arranged 4 fat rails, and snorted all 4 and crushed a beer within two minutes. This was enough to totally dismiss my misgivings, and ignore my gut instinct insisting something’s amiss. I reassured myself that Bigs would never front me that much dope knowing I wouldn’t actually return with the dough. (Again, this should’ve sounded an alarm bell; he either was getting them from the cops, was getting reimbursed somehow, or could honestly afford to take the loss in exchange for dropping charges.)
I met fat Steve at the same bar, and carried out the transaction in the restroom. When the cops were swarming the building, slamming my head into a table, and arresting the guys who ended up giving me a ride, I couldn’t believe it–and at the same time, knew all along.
The same guy supplying the drugs was also the confidential informant? Didn’t they realize I was getting drugs from Bigs? As in, they actually believed that this huge 6’4 black guy driving fancy cars and no taxable income was copping ounces from a white college grad with little money and a voracious coke habit who had to bum rides to get anywhere outside of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti hub?
They couldn’t, truly, but they certainly pursued and prosecuted the case as if that didn’t seem backwards in all the ways that matter. I used to think stories of corrupt cops working with big time dealers (who feed them low level busts in a manner approximating entrapment) were an urban myth, but I found myself in that exact same predicament. And I can’t help but feel that this is standard operating procedure for law enforcement, especially local police departments, whose budgets and paychecks are bolstered by the existence of a public drug problem, and who devote 5x more personnel to narcotics than to homicide and rape.
I can’t say with certainty whether the Westland cops were working with Bigs, a high-level dealer with an extensive criminal history, due to corruption or incompetence, and I still don’t know which would be worse (and more terrifying).