The Atlantic’s Roy Klabin accompanies drug dealer Carlo on his rounds. (A drug dealer is a person in your neighborhood… in your neighborhood…)
During the evenings I spent accompanying Carlo on his rounds, I learned that his customer base included people of all walks of life. Within one four-hour period, I saw Carlo cater to NYU students, lawyers, artists, bankers, and a college professor—all ordering drugs to their apartments as casually as if it were Chinese food.
“This isn’t something I can do forever,” Carlo told me. “People always get caught. Someone gets jealous, your phone gets tapped, someone snitches, or you get stupid and sell something in the wrong place.” As we spoke, his phone vibrated constantly; he responded to each text, scheduling his evening ahead.
Carlo has been dealing for almost 15 years. He sells marijuana, cocaine, ketamine, and magic mushrooms, but his most-prized asset is his connection to a Canadian MDMA distributor. Over the years, their working relationship has grown into a friendship, but even now Carlo isn’t sure how the drugs actually make it across the border. He doesn’t care to ask. He sells a portion of his monthly stash to other dealers for a quick turnaround, but he likes to maintain a direct connection to his favorite clients—around 200 regular customers. Carlo claims he never dilutes his MDMA. The best way to distinguish himself in a competitive, chaotic market—and maintain the luxury of selecting clients—is to be pure and consistent.