BRUSSELS – The independent marijuana vendor in Brussels, the Belgian capital, found it necessary to rethink the way it did business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Uncertainty in supply chains, increased supervision, and clients with their own financial problems are some of the obstacles entrepreneurs like him face at a time when Europe is in confinement. There is not much that a drug dealer can do except seek a new job turn, or adapt.
Jerry – the alias he uses to protect his identity – has sold cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy on the streets since he arrived in Brussels from Albania in 2016. His clientele is so regular that when he had to change his work schedules due to the national quarantine, also updated their WhatsApp profile in three languages.
Even more than the closing of bars, nightclubs and other places where people try to obtain and use the products that Jerry sells, his decision to stop working at 9 at night is a reflection of another enormous change in his career: Police patrolling the nearly deserted streets to make sure the public complies with confinement orders, he says.
“Quarantine is what bothers me the most,” Jerry said. “It is stressful. You can no longer sell drugs at night due to patrols. It is too dangerous. They can easily detect you. ”
Impersonating food deliveryers and hiding cocaine wrappers inside their helmets is a strategy that some have used in recent years to avoid arrest. Fearing he would be arrested before the quarantine in Belgium, Jerry recently hired an associate to do the bike deliveries.
But it is difficult to complete orders during the pandemic, because police officers conducting the patrols check to see if delivery drivers have delivery apps on their cell phones, he said.
He has been in intensive care for two weeks and connected to assisted breathing. A doctor explains why this medication did not have favorable results on him.
Interpol hit the bike deal strategy harder last week. The international police organization issued an alert on the proliferation of drug sellers who use food delivery services to transport cocaine, marijuana, ketamine and ecstasy during the COVID-19 crisis.
Across the border from France, law enforcement agencies noticed a drastic change in the illegal drug trade in the weeks after the mandatory quarantine was imposed on March 17. Vehicles that were rushing into the country to deliver batches of drugs were no longer traveling on the usual routes by the end of the month, according to a narcotics police report published in the Le Monde newspaper.
The anti-drug division of the French judicial police noted that the “mules” transporting cocaine from French Guyana practically disappeared, and that wholesale supplies of cannabis were detained in Morocco and Spain instead of being smuggled into France, Le Monde reported.