Drug Dealers are Adapting to ‘The New Normal’ Through Fake Food-Delivery Services

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NEWS Drug dealers are adapting to 'the new normal' through fake food-delivery services COVID-19 forces dealers in Europe to rethink how best to supply the demand By Angela Stelmakowich “Delivery riders may be complicit or unwitting links in drug transportation.” / Photo: Kiwis / iStock / Getty Images PlusCiting cars, motorcycles and bicycles, no mode of transport was too small to escape notice and arrest. / Photo: skyNext / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Photo: skyNext / iStock / Getty Images Plus Citing cars, motorcycles and bicycles, no mode of transport was too small to escape notice and arrest. / Photo: skyNext / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Photo: skyNext / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Changing times demand changing strategies, even for small-time drug dealers in Europe. Amid a pandemic that has eagle-eyed cops enforcing lockdowns and making empty streets impossible places to blend in, dealers are finding inventive ways to maintain their businesses.

It makes sense. In addition to strict enforcement, factors such as supply chain issues and customers in tough financial situations have made it necessary for the illicit market to get innovative if it wants to survive.

Dealers in Brussels and Paris thought they had come up with the ultimate solution: Pose as food delivery couriers and hide weed and other drugs in their helmets. Amid COVID-19, delivery and pick-up is the new normal, but even this solution didn’t last long.

A dealer who talked to the AP on the condition of anonymity said that police quickly got wise to the workaround and are now checking if couriers have official apps on their phones.

In fact, INTERPOL issued an alert last month blowing the lid off the “food” delivery scam: “INTERPOL has received reports from police in Ireland, Malaysia, Spain and the United Kingdom identifying delivery drivers transporting drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, ketamine and ecstasy,” the alert noted.

Police have been checking cars, motorcycles and bicycles, leaving no mode of transport too small to escape notice and arrest. For instance, seven people were arrested in Spain with drugs hidden inside a false bottom of home delivery backpacks. Meanwhile, in Ireland, cocaine (and handguns) was discovered in pizza delivery boxes.

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