Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Friday, December 12, 2008

Coded Language and the Drug World

New York's Daily News reveals a disturbing practice that's happening on Craigslist. The newspaper highlights some shady deals on Craigslist New York, but I would venture to say that these same tricky posts have landed on Craigslists from various cities in the country and perhaps even the world.

Special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan has enlisted prosecutors from around the country and has also requested that Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster help with an investigation into the drug dealing capers on Craigslist, the Daily News reports.

Secret Language has been used to solicit drugs on the popular Web site. Here are some of the coded posts from New York City that the December 8 issue of New York magazine brought to readers' attention. See if you can decipher the codes:

I need to catch the 420 train - can you help?? -420 (Inwood/Wash. Heights)

Where's Tina?
I want my boyfriend to meet Tina. It'll be his first time meeting her. Actually it would only be my second. We prefer to get together before 8. Earlier would be better ... but whatever's good for you ...

Snow flurries on sale (East Village)
I have snow flurries on sale if you're interested reply back with your email

If you haven't guessed -- "snow" means cocaine, "tina" means crystal meth, and "420" means marijuana.

Here's an excerpt from last month's Daily News story by Patrice O'Shaughnessy about this activity:

Drug dealing on craigslist has become so rampant that the city's special narcotics prosecutor has asked the online trading post to curb the ads, the Daily News has learned.

Bridget Brennan's undercover investigators have bought drugs offered on craigslist personals from dealers ranging from a Citigroup banker to an Ivy Leaguer to a violent felon using a halfway house computer. In the past four years, her office has prosecuted dozens of dealers ...

"Despite devoting considerable resources to prosecuting these cases, drug dealing is still thriving on craigslist," Brennan wrote craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster. Brennan said she was inspired to act by a recent agreement between craigslist and attorneys general from 40 states to curb prostitution ads ...

Ten days ago, craigslist unveiled sweeping new measures, in partnership with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to stop its ads from being used for prostitution, child exploitation and other illegal activities.

Craigslist will require "erotic services" providers to pay $10 for each listing and pay with a credit card, which the police will be able to subpoena.

Brennan says the idea could be applied to drug ads.

"I would like members of my staff who have an expertise in prosecuting Internet drug sales to meet with you and explore ways to curb drug dealing on your Web site," her letter says.

In an interview, Brennan said the best course is "to work with them to screen out sellers. They would have to focus on commonly used terms and develop screening mechanisms.

"They'll offer ski tickets in July in New York, and Tina Turner tickets when she's not performing in town." Marijuana ads are more, er, blunt. It is usually referred to by name or as "420."

"We see lots of professionals, people with good jobs, doing it," Brennan said. "They are shocked to get caught."

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