View attachment 16673 DRUG gangs are passing off a dental anaesthetic as crack cocaine, a Daily Star Sunday investigation has revealed.
They are raking in huge profits by targeting kids and hard-up families in the scam.
Our investigators watched one dealer “wash” benzocaine into rocks of fake crack, making £40,000 from just £400 worth of chemicals.
But the drug - known on the streets as brack – is as ruthlessly addictive and lethal as the one used in the shocking EastEnders storyline that has seen Phil Mitchell gripped by crack addiction.
Government crimebusters claimed a massive breakthrough on the evil racket when they seized two tonnes of benzocaine in raids earlier this month.
Yet dealers say the seizures are “just the tip of the iceberg”.
We watched as one – known in the underworld as a “bashman” – prepared the deadly drug in home-made test tubes in a dirty kitchen.
He boasted: “I’ve been selling crack since 1986 and I’ve been a millionaire. In 25 years I’ve never made as much money. Because it cost buttons to make you can give it away like sweets to people who’ve never tried it before.
“Then your phone doesn’t stop *ringing.
“It starts off cheap because I can *afford to give it away or give it out on credit
“But once you’re on it, you’re on it – and you pay like every other crackhead.
“It’s taken the crack thing into new markets and even new places where people have never tried crack before.”
The substance – used legally as a dental anaesthetic and which gets users high if snorted or injected – is made cheaply in China and sold on the internet.
View attachment 16670 For five years benzocaine has been used by drug dealers to bulk up powdered cocaine and boost profits.
Last week the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) warned benzocaine was a dangerous drug, cheap enough to spread quickly among younger users.
But in the last six months crack dealers have found that benzocaine can be “cooked up” and “washed up” to form crack cocaine-style rocks.
The 50-year old dealer from Walton, Liverpool, added: “The washing-up and cooking-up simply purify the benzocaine.
“Then you cook it up in a microwave with baking soda to make the rocks.
“Today I started off with 9oz of *benzocaine, which cost £400. That made 250gms of rock, which is worth around 40 grand. So that means I’ve made 100 times my original outlay.
“If it was proper crack, 9oz would have cost around £1,700 an ounce – that’s a total of £15,300. What would you rather lay out – £400 or £15,300 for nearly the same thing?
“I sold some the other day to a crackhead. I told him it was real crack and he said, ‘Nice one’ and bought five rocks.
View attachment 16671 He texted me back and said, ‘It’s not great but it’s OK. I got a good buzz’. And he scored again from me.
“And that’s a man who’s been smoking crack cocaine for ten years and he can’t tell the difference.”
SOCA netted 83 barrels (two tonnes) of benzocaine in one week recently.
An officer from SOCA said the raids were “targeted preventive measures” which would “seriously damage” the criminal market.
He added: “The chemical properties of these cutting agents have enabled traffickers to target younger people in the UK, from mid-teens to early twenties, with more affordable cocaine that masks its lower purity.”
EastEnders has come under fire over its controversial crack binge plotline.
But show bosses defended the storyline, claiming it was educating the British public on “a very serious issue”.
The initial 9oz bag of benzocaine (1) is split into smaller amounts and “washed” in a test tube (2) prior to being mixed with baking soda and cooked in a microwave. Once cooled, the rocks produced are weighed (3) and split into gramme wraps (4), before being smoked in a crack pipe (5)
22nd August 2010
By Scott Hesketh
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