Drug Warriors Take 103 Percent

Narcoleaks, a new website produced by Italian journalists and the drug trafficking researcher Sandro Donati, keeps track of cocaine seizure reports and compares them to official estimates of worldwide production. The most recent projection based on Donati's calculations indicates that seizures, which totaled 47.1 metric tons from January 1 through yesterday, will hit 664 to 714 metric tons by the end of the year. According to the U.S. State Department's production estimate, that means governments will succeed in confiscating all of Earth's cocaine, plus another 19 metric tons or so (based on the middle of the projected range), possibly produced on Mars. The production estimate from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime does not look quite as silly, but it does rather implausibly suggest that drug warriors manage to seize more than three-quarters of the world's illicit cocaine.

[Thanks to Peter Cohen for the tip.]

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  • ||

    Look at those jokers write a budget, or calculate projections of future costs, or keep their books.

    Why are we still amazed they can't count? They suck at math everywhere they try using it. The most logical subject will always escape the least logical minds.

  • ||

    They're not off because they can't do math. They're off because they lie and inflate the numbers. Like when they weigh seized marijuana plants; they tear them up by the roots, leave the dirt on, and weigh them then.

    They're just 100% dishonest. They may be, and probably are, stupid too, but first and foremost they're fucking liars.

  • hmm ||

    Ya, but anyone who can do math would at least see to it the lie was viable.

  • ||

    Why bother? Who questions the numbers? Almost no one. Do you see any mainstream journalists going "uh, that doesn't make sense?" Of course not.

  • hmm ||

    touche

  • ||

    Episiarch

    Exactly.

    This also flies in the face of the meme "90% of drugs are still getting through" that is current on both sides of the drug debate.

  • j||

    Why cannot I not see the posters' names in most of these comments? Anyone else getting this?


    Fucking squirrels, how do they work?

  • ||

    "With a street value of a bazillion dollars".

  • ||

    "bazillion yuan".

    Drug dealers only deal in hard currency. ;)

  • BakedPenguin||

    I remember a friend of mine joking with me about this many years ago. He was showing me the sickly pot plant in his closet, lamenting its condition and saying he'd just cut it down for the leaves.

    I said "Yeah, and it'd suck to get busted for a plant like that."

    He replied "are you kidding? (reporter voice) The street value of the seizure was three hundred and twenty thousand dollars."

  • ||

    They're not off because they can't do math. They're off because they lie and inflate the numbers. Like when they weigh seized marijuana plants; they tear them up by the roots, leave the dirt on, and weigh them then.

    You know, I would be inclined to go with that. But when I look at a meat-puppet like Krugman, he believes the book-cookery shit he shovels. And he's supposedly a brilliant luminary on his subject, it just goes intellectually down-hill from there apparently. So I'm beginning to believe this chumps really can't count.

  • ||

    Not the Krug's a drug warrior, but he smokes the same tasty dope the drug warriors have magically kept to themselves all these years, indeed the only drug they seem to keep away from me.

  • Zeb||

    It would be pretty hard to make the case that Krug couldn't do the math. He's just a weasel.

  • ||

    yeah, someone like, say, a climatologist.

  • ||

    Videogames can do that to you.

    Play WoW long enough and you start to believe that shit's real too.

  • ||

    ...plus another 19 metric tons or so...possibly produced on Mars.

    Which should we invade next, Iran or Mars?

  • IceTrey||

    OMG, WHAT HAVE I BEEN SNORTING THEN?

  • ||

    Martian snow. It's the best. And there may be life in it too!

  • ¢||

    Man, if I had three-quarters of the world's illicit cocaine, I'd...do it all by Friday at 10:30 and spend the rest of the weekend leaving increasingly embarrassing messages on everybody's phone.

  • ||

    "Say hello to my little friend!"

  • hmm ||

    These good agencies don't have the budgets necessary to hire officers and managers that can do math, much less complex statistical analysis. They are doing the best they can.

    Fuckin' math, how does it work?

  • Stretchy||

    We need more of these highly qualified, highly credentialed, highly educated public servants that make 20% more than private sector workers performing similar tasks. Although, I don't know of any private sector workers who get paid anything to produce that level of crappy analysis.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I heard there are some IT specialists in Wisconsin available cheap.

  • quarterbaked||

    OMG GUYS, WE'VE WON THE DRUG WAR!!!

  • ||

    thankfully, there are bath salts to make up the gap

  • ||

    These are the same geniuses that project high speed rail ridership and the future costs of ObamaCare.

  • ||

    Martian coke....I think I just found the way to get my near-earth-object defense system funded.

  • adder||

    The numbers are consistent, if you assume that the same cocaine may be seized multiple times.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: adder,

    The numbers are consistent, if you assume that the same cocaine may be seized multiple times.


    You mean like passing the same fruitcakes at Christmas?

  • BakedPenguin||

    No. For that analogy to hold, some of the fruitcake would have to be eaten mysteriously in between each "re-gifting."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Note: I made this comment prior to reading Radley Balko's link to the cop selling drugs.

  • Old Mexican||

    According to the U.S. State Department's production estimate, that means governments will succeed in confiscating all of Earth's cocaine, plus another 19 metric tons or so (based on the middle of the projected range), possibly produced on Mars.

    WOW! Now THAT'S the legendary efficiency we've heard from the likes of Tony, Chad, Edwin, The Truth, et al!

    Or maybe... and I know, I know, I may be going out on a limb but listen! Listen! Maybe... here it goes:

    THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE MAKING SHIT UP.

    I know! *I* know! That's a bold accusation, but... I mean... It's possible, couldn't it be?
  • SIV||

    How much Italian baby laxative do they seize?

  • What could go wrong?||

    Possible explanations beyond "OMG stupid/corrupt feds can't add":

    * Donati's addition is wrong
    * Donati's projection is wrong
    * This was an exceptionally good two months for cocaine seizures which will not be matched the rest of the year
    * World production estimates are far too low
    * Production estimates are for pure cocaine, seizure numbers are for impure ('cut') cocaine.

    And that's just off the top of my head.

    I'm more interested in seeing last year's numbers rather than projections for this year. Was more than 100% of last year's cocaine production seized as well?

  • ||

    There are no other explanations, anonypussy. But you have fun doing your passive aggressive shit.

  • waffles||

    Now you're just being stupid. All those above seem more plausible. It's just that this agency simply doesn't give a fuck about telling the truth and they certainly don't give a fuck whether their statistics make sense.

    Sometimes I'm not sure whether they are just that brazen, or do they assume everyone's just as dumb as they are.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Possible explanations beyond "OMG stupid/corrupt feds can't add":

    * Donati's addition is wrong

    Donati's projection is wrong

    Certainly true

    * This was an exceptionally good two months for cocaine seizures which will not be matched the rest of the year

    A reasonable assumption, but not enough data here to tell.

    * World production estimates are far too low

    Certainly true...and, of course, cocaine seized today could have been produced last year.

    * Production estimates are for pure cocaine, seizure numbers are for impure ('cut') cocaine.

    A factor that will add about 20-50% to the weight of street cocaine.

    And that's just off the top of my head.

    I'm more interested in seeing last year's numbers rather than projections for this year. Was more than 100% of last year's cocaine production seized as well?

    This is just a typical Jacob Sullum post. Someone somewhere made a claim he likes...so he passed it along...no questioning the validity of the numbers.

  • rather||

    Drug Warriors Take 103 Percent

    A wildly successful government program-good news

  • omg||

    Well, that cop was arrested for selling drugs further down the page...and the drugs he was arrested for were confiscated...

    So technically they could be confiscating drugs they already confiscated before but were then sold by corrupt cops but now became confiscated again.

  • ||

    So the drug supply is like the money supply - its not just the quantity, its the speed with which it circulates.

  • ||

    D0 - Drugs in circulation

    D1 - Drugs held in police warehouses

    D2 - Drugs currently being shipped from third world countries

    D3 - Drugs actually being consumed

    The velocity of D1 is of vital economic importance, therefore we need more dirty cops.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, can't cocaine be totally synthesized in the laboratory?

  • BakedPenguin||

    My apologies for the "apropos of nothing..." comment above.

  • n.||

    That's just the beginning.

  • ||

    I invite everyone to follow our work in the coming weeks and months. There will be clear explanations for all the doubts that were expressed by readers in their comments.

  • ||

    How much of the "cocaine" is baking soda.

    The drug police make good money seizing product - like most highly subsidized military operations they don't like to take risks so they don't go after the suppliers

  • db||

    You know, I went to the narcoleaks site in the hope of getting more information that would help me make sense of the numbers, but what's posted above really appears to be all they have. Not sure how useful it's going to be until they actually post more data. I wouldn't base any claims on it unless I was able to see all the info that they've collected so far. And if this is all they have, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable making any claims at all.

  • ||

    C'mon guys, don't be so hard on these guys. Everybody knows that cops aren't smart enough to know how to count or to assign value. The constant estimates of cartel weed as being worth $800 an ounce and every pot seed growing into a kilogram of cannabis that sells for $22,000 a pound should have clued you in.

    Really, it's remarkable that they came so close in this BWAG* estimation in the article above.

    Oh, one last question, why is everyone assuming that the drug agents who made this estimate actually knows how many kilos is in a metric ton? If they think it's 100 kilos instead of 1000 that might account for it.

    *Bureaucratic Wild Assed Guess

  • ||

    Imagine, that by some impossible means, prohibition succeeded in eradicating more than 90% of all the cocaine in the world, bringing production down to a mere one ton a week. Now imagine what that one single ton would be worth and what people would be willing to do to get it to market.

    Thanks to prohibition we're about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we've always provided facts and statistics - they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

    Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

    Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to "protect us from ourselves".

    When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this moronothon behind us, we'll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being "free and fair" has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We'll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

    Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition­, it's supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you're aware of but not enraged by it's shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

    Millions of fearless Egyptians have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression.

    The drug czar's office is not only unnecessary but also the greatest waste of space since vows of fidelity were included in the christian marriage service.

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