A young man who worked as a drugs packer agreed to have an anonymous talk with a journalist of Properm.ru. He talked about the Perm (a Russian city) segment of darknet marketplaces, and dangers he had faced and how his wife reacted to this work.
– How did you get into this business?
– I never planned to join in, although anyone can do it. One day when I was talking to my virtual friend I said that I was looking for a job. He offered to help me get employed in this unfamiliar sphere of business. I was interested and contacted my future hirer.
I think that everyone, except “kitchen chemists-experimenters”, is motivated financially. But drug addicts cannot last long in business, that is why money attracts everyone. It is hard to imagine that packing drugs or placing dead drops might be someone’s calling. Although game element and room for creativity surely captivate.
– What is the work of a packer?
– First of all a packer is informed beforehand when a batch for packing is likely to be ready. At this time, you should stay in touch in order to get coordinates promptly and go after a batch. Coordinates include the same information as any dead drop does: the closest address, landmarks text description and a photo. As a rule, it is located in a hard-to-reach place on the outskirts of a city.
Getting a batch is a very responsible action. First of all, you might not even find it because a driveway took a long time, or you searched not carefully enough, or it had already been taken by someone else, or a batch was not placed at all and we got tricked. Secondly, such “crosses” across garages and garbage dumps draw attention of concerned citizens and police officers. Thus, any inaccuracy or ambiguity in a description can overwhelm: you get really nervous when you lift one edge of a log and find nothing in there, but at the other hand – if you manage to find a package under another edge it feels like you are the winner of a lottery!
I packed only “speed” and “salts”. A drugs packer weighs a substance and then puts it in a compact and sealed package (zip-lock, tin foil, drinking straw). This position is considered to be higher than a dead dropper, but not the most “comfortable” because you have to work with stuff itself along with an online business. I distributed not much as the shop was newly opened: about 0.5 kg of speed a month.
– Who are the recipients of shipments?
– Druggies are all different people: not only bandits and degenerates, but also creative people seeking inspiration. Customers ordinarily do not like those who work in drug business. And it is mutual – I was not excited when they submitted complaints about my work to the boss. Once I was fined when a customer claimed that a package was empty. The fine amounted to the cost of that purchase. Every shop has its own rules, some fine employees for staying out of touch for a long time without warning. More often buyers reported a dead drop was not found, but it did not concern me – I just packed.
As I have previously said – all druggies are different. But they use the same drugs – synthetic cannabinoids (spices) or stimulants (salts, speed). A sane person would not take them. But those, who had done drugs before synthetics appeared, use them because they just do not care. That is, they are people over 30 years old.
“Speed” is popular among students and drivers. I am not sure what drug is commonly used in clubs and home parties – nowadays every addict is a loner, everyone is afraid of being turned over to the police. However, anyone is able to trade, having a normal job or studying in a college for cover. But such people must have a clear mental set – never use any drugs, otherwise their business will not last long.
– Does any of your relatives know about your work as a packer?
– My wife does. In the beginning I could not afford renting a place for work, later I had nothing to hide. She even helped me but only with packaging. Of course, I would tell no one about my job and it is not just a matter of conspiracy, but also of a fair contempt of drugs traffickers.
– Are there any ways to scam customers?
– No. The stuff is not cut because if you do it, solution for injection will be cloudy and a foreign smell appears in case of smoking.
– What features of the Perm darknet market can you name?
– The market in Perm is the same as in any other Russian city except Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. More expensive “classic” drugs are rarely sold, that is why the choice is quite limited. The volume is significant, I think that main stores covering all city regions have a turnover of $2,500 a day. Many believe that we are poisoned by Chinese, but it is not true. Drugs are produced locally.
– What were your expectations of work?
– I did not have any, had no idea how much one can earn. Now I understand that I could be paid more for this job, but in order to get the best terms of payment one has to deposit money, move to a distant region or reveal personal information. A shop operator can require an applicant to verify the identity – to take a photo holding a passport for example. I did not provide any personal information and never travelled for work.
– How much do drugs cost?
– The cost price is affected by batch quantity, region and retail amounts. Let us take for example standard circumstances: a darknet shop operating in a big city, stable demand and staff. For packing they usually buy a batch of speed weighting 500 gr at a price approximately $5,000, and in this case the cost price of 1 gram is $5. An ordinary retail price for a listing 0.5 gr is not less than $20. It is not hard to calculate that the cost of 1 kg sold retail is more than $40000.
– What safety measures are taken?
– Everything is done anonymously. Communication through the chief, dead drops delivery. It is recommended not to leave fingerprints, there are different methods – for example gloves or glue. I used a plastic bag while working on the streets.
– Is it easy to quit the business?
– Yes, sure. It is a foolish idea to treat such a job like a source of constant income. When the crisis was over I no longer wanted to risk. I did not pose a threat to my employer as none of the sensitive information was disclosed to me. A general opinion stating that there is no way out of drug business is wrong.