Words || Martin Coulson
We’d barely been broken up a day, but somehow Facebook knew. A sponsored article titled “5 Breakup Purchases You’ll Probably Spend Too Much Money On” sat right in the middle of my feed, compounding my misery as if Zuckerberg was playing a practical joke on me. “Joke’s on them,” I thought to myself. “I’m already broke.” But there was one post-breakup purchase I would make, one not featured in the article.
I purchased 20 grams of MDMA from the darknet, and became a drug dealer.
Forget your stereotypical image of a dealer, because I wasn’t it. I never mucked up in high school, I’ve never had any brushes with the law, and I look as innocent as a lamb, but the world works in mysterious ways and suddenly an opportunity presented itself.
My usual dealer had just dropped off the radar when my mate sends me a VICE article titled “What Happens if You’re Caught Getting Drugs in the Mail?” The short answer? Not much. And so, the combination of those two events, coupled with the unconscious post break-up desire to do something batshit crazy, led me to the conclusion of “Fuck it, why not?”
My first stop was an empty and dimly-lit newsagency that had walls plastered in covers from 90s celeb magazines. Jennifer Aniston stared me down from the wall behind the counter as I approached. My purpose there was to swap cash for Bitcoin, with the newsagent acting as a middleman. I could have simply linked my bank account to a Bitcoin wallet, but that way there’d be an obvious trail if shit hit the fan, and besides, cash over the counter to acquire some online crypto-currency felt way more appropriate given what I was planning to spend it on. I must have been the first person to request this, because the shop owner had no idea what he was doing, but after much confusion and a very helping hand from me, the transaction was complete and I left 0.28 Bitcoins richer.
Darknet markets are fascinating. They’re the one-stop shop for buying any drug under the sun, firearms, stolen credit cards and discounted premium porn accounts. Browsing through the categories gave me a good reminder I’d gotten into some very weird and very illegal shit.
Nevertheless, I pushed onward to the arduous task of choosing some molly out of the mind-boggling 37,411 options available. This was the point where I began mildly freaking out, realising that I had people’s lives, my fledgling drug dealer rep, and my pleasant life outside of the slammer at stake. Luckily, there are plenty of folk eager to leave relatively informative feedback and ratings, and eventually I chose the dryly-named vendor, DrugsFromAmsterdam.
A nervous month of waiting followed. Besides selling the stuff, getting it delivered is one point where it could all go tits up. I was having it sent to my home address, but using a fake name for the package to be addressed to by picking a similarly named player from my FIFA team. This came in handy when my Dad found the ‘Pick up Parcel’ notice. I claimed it as mine and shrugged it off as the postman’s error.
I collected the package the next morning; confidently explaining that ‘Martin Coulson’ was a friend of mine visiting from the Netherlands and was staying at my address. No worries there. The package was mine.
Back at home, I marvelled at the simple but effective stealth of darknet deliveries. It was labelled as containing ‘iPhone Parts’ sent from a company called Repairpoint in the Netherlands. Inside sat a shiny silver package labelled ‘iPhone 6 Dock Connector Replacement’, and inside that, the Holy Grail… a vacuum-sealed pack of MDMA crystals.
It felt surreal for a poor student like myself to be holding what was essentially a few grand in my hands. Until now, it had still been a fantasy – a pleasantly dangerous thought that I could earn a load of cash doing not much at all. But now, it was real. I was a drug dealer and it was time to get to work.
I’d already been preparing – buying testing kits, scales, and plenty of non-gelatin capsules (so no animals were harmed on your way to hugging strangers and losing your jaw in a different postcode). All that remained was something to crush the crystals between. Looking around for something convenient, a page of Grapeshot with the words ‘Repeat Offenders’ caught my eye. Perfect.
I’d make caps whenever I felt like taking my mind off other things, which happened to be quite often, and I began to find it pretty therapeutic. I became more dedicated to working at it than anything else I’d done in the last year – way more than uni, my job, fixing my relationship and mental health, or planning for the future and other unimportant shit like that.
Despite being a complete novice, I’d like to think I was a fairly decent dealer. I was helping people out by giving them better gear than what they’d normally get, for cheaper than what they’d normally get, and without all the hassle that usually accompanies buying from the sketch bloke that you met at Chinese Laundry. Contradicting everything you know about drug dealers, I was even always on time. It was like I was doing a service to the community, and it did loads to artificially inflate my ego.
That’s not to say I wasn’t having second thoughts or regrets. Most of my ‘customers’ were people I knew personally. Even my ex-girlfriend bought from me, and although I took all the precautions I could, the thought of something terrible happening to people I cared about when taking the drugs that I had provided for them weighed heavily on my mind. I also couldn’t help worrying about a certain customer’s level of consumption. Do I want this person’s money, or do I want the peace of mind of knowing that they’re not ruining their health on my watch?
With festival season approaching I made another larger order, and in searching for a different kind of buzz, made the fatal mistake of straying away from the good folk at DrugsFromAmsterdam. I waited weeks and weeks for it to arrive to no avail. Chances are I was “selectively scammed” – i.e. fucked over – as does happen occasionally on the darknet. However, the possibility remained that Customs had intercepted the package and were having themselves one hell of a Christmas party with my gear. The chance that my address was on a hot-list made it too much of a risk to give it another go. It was time to cut my losses, and call it a day.
Six months living a life of crime was plenty for me.