SOC229 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Desroches Island, Methamphetamine, Victim Blaming

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16 Oct 2015

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Module 16 - The Nature of Drug Trafficking and Research Methodology
Introduction - Drug Laws and Prohibitions
-demand for illicit drugs creates a huge potential for profits for criminals
-Controlled Drugs and Substances Act lists drugs such as marijuana, meth, heroin,
these are prohibited / illicit drugs
-serious penalties
-is a consensual criminal activity; the people involved consent to be involved
-police need to use very aggressive types of investigative techniques
surveillance techniques = get a bug on people’s phone, use videos
intrusive techniques = undercover agent
The Title of the Book - The Crime that Pays
-most crimes seems to be very little pay and high risk (ex. robbery)
-with drug trafficking, it appears to be low risk and high paying
The Nature of Drug Trafficking
-drug trafficking includes: importation, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution
-drug trafficking involves social networks
-supplier / source = dealers buy from them
-distributor / wholesaler = dealers selling to other dealers
-retailers / pushers / lower-level dealers / street dealers = sell to users
-“higher-level dealers” refers to everybody above the retail level
Retail Drug Trafficking
-tend to be fragmented, disorganized, competitive, fluid, they change all the time
-they buy their drugs from whoever and then sell to whoever they wish
-drug dealing at the retail level is relatively unsophisticated
-these are all willing consumers
-most retail level dealers are users themselves
-most retail level drug traffickers do not move out to the higher-level drug trafficking -
most of them only sell small quantities of drugs to their friends and relatives
Deroches’ Research Methodology
-interviewed RCMP drug investigators across Canada
-the police information helped him to supplement the information he got from the
The Sample
-dealers fall into 2 distinct groups
businessmen dealers (relatively law abiding but have been previously convicted)
criminal dealers (have lengthy criminal records for a variety of offences)
-drug “crews” or drug “syndicates”
-average age was 40 year-old men and the average sentence was 7 years
charged with conspiracy; conspiracy to import, to traffic or possession
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Module 17 - Organized Crime and Higher Level Drug Trafficking
The Mafia Model of Organized Crime
-OC consists of various groups of diverse ethnic backgrounds
-the view behind OC is largely Italian based
-the Mafia is a very violent organization and it uses violence to control people, to
prevent people from informing on them, to collect money, to intimidate and even do
away with competitors
-corruption = it corrupts law enforcement, court systems, judges, buys off politicians
all of this for protection so they can continue their illegal activities
-the Mafia is an urban myth; criminologists / sociologists / theorists all see it as a myth
Defining Organized Crime
-profit driven (not political / not terrorists / not our for revenge)
-OC has the potential for violence and corruption
when people don’t pay, these criminals are likely to turn to violence
-OC operates secretly and is sometimes called “enterprise” crime bc of the
entrepreneurship nature of illicit activities
-the basis of OC is prohibition meaning that there are laws that prohibit certain types
of services and activities
so what this means is that there’s a demand for these “illicit” services and
activities, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sexual types of services
organized criminals will step in, meet demands & try to make $, & the prohibition
on these activities means that there’s great opportunity for huge profits
-the M.O. of OC usually involves a lot of strategies to insulate and protect leadership
-OC can be described in 3 ways:
enterprise crime
syndicated criminal networks
criminal network
-there are international connections; for drugs that are produced abroad like cocaine
The Business Model of Organized Crime
-drug trafficking has many things in common with legitimate business enterprise
-the danger of arrest, drug seizures, the inability to advertise and problems with
expansion are some of the problems of illegitimate enterprises
-economic theory has devalued different models
market model of organized criminal activity
enterprise model
^ both models assume criminals are rational / constantly seeking opportunities / profit
-they make rational judgements about investment of their time and money, the risks
involved and so on / engage in planning and thinking and reflecting and try to develop
good business standards and good business techniques to maximize profits!
-legitimate business vs. illicit business
legal = a lot of support from the state & government, redundancy doesn’t exist
illegal = operates without any type of state support, can’t go to the courts,
redundancy exists, dependant on the leader, great risks with expanding
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Businessmen and Criminal Drug Traffickers
-drug traffickers view their activities as a business; they compete by selling high
quality products at competitive prices on an ongoing basis
-remember that dealers fall into 2 distinct groups / typology
businessmen dealers = live law abiding lives
criminal dealers = lengthy criminal records, more likely to use drugs / violence
-entrepreneurial attitudes and values influence the decision to deal in drugs and the
success of dealers
Friendship, Kinship, Race, and Ethnicity
-choose associates based on trust; you want to deal with people that you know and
you trust
-ethnicity seems to be the most influential
-dealers fall into 2 distinct groups
you are more likely to know and be friends with and trust people from your own
ethnic background
Size and Composition of Drug Syndicates
-higher-level drug traffickers are relatively small
operate more safety but can sill bring in huge profits
-independent entrepreneurs and are free to deal with whoever they choose
-relationships between suppliers and distributors are long lasting but not exclusive
suppliers don’t control the distributors, their clients
they only control the drugs, so in order to keep your clients you’ve got to continue
to supply good quality drugs at a good price
keep in mind that people are free to go elsewhere to buy their drugs
-drug trade is like hot potato
when a supplier gets a large quantity of drug, he doesn’t want to hang on to that
for very long, he wants to pass that on
he wants to get $ quickly bc he owes money to his own suppliers / importers
also these drugs could be seized by the police
-paid employees, and they will get paid a certain fee or maybe a commission based
-it’s an entrepreneurial market
no single organization controls it
there’s not cartel or a Mafia that controls it
nobody controls the territorial
-opportunity theory is quite significant bc you need connections to get into trafficking
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