When you interact with your credit card and/or bank, for any reason whatsoever, those transactions are all logged.
Included in this log entry are several pertinent pieces of information:
- The amount of the transaction
- The location of the transaction
- The type of transaction which occurred.
The amount of the transaction can be positive or negative, depending on whether it was a credit or debit.
The location of the transaction can be any number of things ranging from ‘in bank transactions’ to “ATM” transactions to a “Point of sale debit” at a supermarket and more.
Now the vast majority of drug dealers work with cash only.
So if you’re a policing agency such as the FBI with unrestricted access to financial information and trying to find clues on who precisely has an addiction problem in your population, understanding that drug dealers require cash only is a great clue of what to look for in banking transactions.
So now you know to look for customers with higher frequencies of cash withdrawals.
Psychologically. Many drug users do not like to admit to their problem. So chances are when they’re obtaining their cash for their drugs, they will opt NOT to have to look at anyone when they withdrawal cash from their accounts. This reduces ‘teller based’ withdrawals from the list of transactions you’re going to look for, as well as eliminates cash back as a reliable way to narrow down your search.
This narrows down your search to ‘ATM transactions’.
Most drug users using cocaine and similar substances will visit their dealer on a regular basis, at least one time a week, occasionally more.
So your search at this point should be for ‘banking customers with a 4 or more ATM cash withdrawals transactions per month’
From here, you will have a list of potential suspects.
This is when you look for fixed dollar amount withdrawals associated with the street price of drugs.
How do you find this amount? Look on the darknet leveraging TOR.
You’ll get a good idea on the low end of the street price.
Cocaine costs about $40 a gram, an 8 ball costs $80 to $100 depending on the dealer.
With your list of ‘suspect’ customers in hand, now you’re going to look for consistent withdrawals in the same dollar amount.
IF you find consistency. PARTICULARLY a few late night transactions in the SAME LOCATION.
That’s a GREAT indicator of suspect customers.
Now – the process of elimination. You’ve got to start eliminating other vices.
My advice is to have a dry erase map of the neighborhood you’re investigating for this portion of things.
Create a list of all gambling establishments in the area, and their addresses.
Next, create a list of known locations for companions and/or topless and nude cabarets.
NOW plot these locations on the dry erase map with permanent markers. Since these establishments do not come and go frequently, they are fairly consistent, you can permanently plot them and then use this ‘dry erase board to quickly find out if someone belongs on the suspect list.
NOW with a single suspect in hand, create a point of where their house is. Now draw a line in erasable ink between all the ATMS they made cash withdrawals from with their home in the middle of the line. DOES the line point to a gambling location or nude cabarets?
If so. Eliminate the suspect from your list of suspects. This entire method is unreliable to determine if this is a drug user or not.
If the line you create DOES NOT intersect with a ‘cash insistent establishment’ then they are most definitely a suspect.
Now prioritize this list of suspects by placing the ‘late night cash withdrawals’ on top of the list.
Particularly true with cocaine, a user can ‘run out’ at midnight and find themselves needing to keep the party going.
Now keep in mind that MANY of these people may still be completely innocent. Some may need to withdraw cash because they have a cafeteria in their office which only takes cash or they pay for their team based lunches in cash.
Drug dealers can frequently come and go.
Now with your list of ‘suspects’ firmly in hand create your own numbering system for your suspects – starting at ‘1’ for the first one, and ‘1’ for the second and so on. Now create ANOTHER large dry erase board that has a map of your jurisdictional area.
PLOT each suspect’s line trajectory just like you did before with a dry erase marker with a number associated with each suspect.
And repeat this with each suspect banking customer.
If you have enough suspect data, you should see patterns begin to emerge.
Typically, an intersection of lines at or near one single point will emerge.
It’s or around the point of intersections is where you’re going to find your drug dealers.
Obtain a comprehensive list of all your suspect’s cars and the make and model and license plate number.
Distribute this list and the numbers associated with each suspect to a local police or have an FBI agent assigned in an unmarked car to the ‘vicinity’ of the target area.
And when a suspect makes an ATM transaction, plot the route the most likely route the suspect will have to take to reach the target area.
Prioritize the routes of the highest suspicion first.
Then place the unmarked car on that route to look for and follow the suspect’s car from an unsuspicious distance. – only following the vehicle a ‘part of the way’.
Now here’s where it gets tricky.
Don’t follow the car all the way into an apartment complex or housing track area.
Just simply note the location of major turns.
And the next time that suspect makes a withdrawal, you can narrow the target area.
The goal is to NOT try to bust these people the first time.
Obtain reliable information that can sustain itself without corrupting your research and having to start from scratch.
First to a subdivision or apartment complex. Then to a building or street. And finally to the precise location of the dealer.
How you apprehend the dealer is entirely up to you and your procedures.
But once you have located the distribution points.
You can then leverage those distribution points and triangulate the dealers to their major distributors.
Getting the ‘little dealers’ off the street may be like playing whack a mole.
Why play whack a mole when you can leverage a sniper rifle?