… that’s what I call them, anyway.
If you spend any time in any American city, sooner or later you’re going to see those tiny resealable bags people use to sell crack litering the street. Unfortunately one was on the steps of the house I’m housesitting last night. :rolleyes: Many of them are in different bright happy colors, and I’ve even seen one with a little Batman logo that looked professionally printed.
My understanding is that different dealers use different colors and logos to specify their ‘brand.’
So where are these dealers buying them, and who produces them? The same companies that make regular sized food resealable bags, or pharmaceutical supply houses (and then are we talking buying at a store or ordering out of a catalog)? Are there any legit uses for this product, or do their producers know they’re selling a questionable product?
I’m trying to imagine your average crack dealer rolling up to a drug store and buying 5000 tiny bags… or ordering out of a medical supply catalog! Seems there could be a lot of pressure brought to bear on the producers of this stuff, especially when you have to imagine a tiny pink bag with a Batman logo probably wasn’t intended for use at the cancer research lab…
As it so happens, I recently talked to a group of dealers and this very question came up (yes really, don’t ask me why). The answer was that they usually ordered them from places that sold containers to hold components such as small screws. I didn’t get any more details than that.
They’re bought from packaging catalogs, who are usually willing to do print runs as well. Small resealable bags are incredibly common in commerce, as lots of small parts, samples, and other small things are shipped in them.
Thanks for these answers! I was thinking in the direction of the pharm industry, screws etc. never would have occured to me. It’s the resealable thing that threw me.
Surely, though, I would imagine if some guy at a residential address orders 1,000 purple bags with a lightning bolt that should raise some eyebrows, no?
Does anyone in law enforcement try to identify dealers via the bag supply route?
Mrs. HeyHomie has hundreds of those. She uses them for storing little beads that she uses in her jewelry-making.
…and also for selling crack!
They get them from little short guys in completely white suits.
They’re great for finger sandwiches.
But only when the aforementioned guys in white suits aren’t scoring Aussie rules football matches.
Note to the OP-in the States, it would be galloning or quarting the streets. Litering the streets would take place in metric countries, mmmkay?
Many stores who participate in the general “paraphernalia trade” (ie what was once called Head Shops) also sell things such as those bags.
Regarding their use for legitimate commerce:
I used to work for a scale company and one of the most common industrial uses for scales is checkweighing. The bag of screws or parts or whatever is passed over a scale platform in order to either (1) count the parts in the case of identical items or (2) to pass or reject the baggie if it is missing a part.
Example of number (2):
You purchase a new, say, barbeque grill that requires some assembly. The bag of screws is short by a single nut. Passing the baggie over a scale would have shown that the weight of the nut was missing from the total.
Anyhow, in my years at the company and seeing literally hundreds of bagging machines and baggies at hundreds of factories and plants in the Chicago area, I never, ever saw a reclosable baggie in an industrial setting smaller than a few inches square. The drug bags I’ve seen blowing in the wind are an inch square or less. It is much easier and cheaper for a machine to bag and heat-seal a single use baggie.
I’m not saying that they don’t have their uses for bead stores and other retail small craft uses but there’s not much industrial need for a reclosable baggie the size of a typical US postage stamp.
Uline, a major industrial packaging supplier, sells reclosable baggies but the smallest, cheapest ones are about 2" by 2", several times larger than the crack baggies.
Although I’ve never smoked crack, I buy my dime bags and coke bags (back when I dabbled in the harder stuff) at smokeshops/headshops. Dealers don’t put their logos on these bags; the logo on the bag is what came on it when they bought it at the smoke shop. I knew dealers who only ever bought bags with one kind of logo on it, but there’s quite a substantial difference between that and them actually manufacturing the bags. Anybody over 18 (generally speaking) in a given city could buy any given bag. Since they’re already legal to buy, dealers have no reason to make them. You get several hundred for a couple of bucks, as well. (I’ve split a roll of those bags in half with a dealer friend of mine, and a few months later my half, which I left in San Diego with another friend, still has quite a bit of mileage in it.) Anyone who sells enough drugs to need more than that many at a time and would therefore buy the bags in bulk off the Internet, would probably sell the drugs in quantities too big to fit in those kind of bags. That’s what I would think, anyway.
What you’re thinking of is the makers of ecstacy and other illicitly manufactured pills, who often put logos on the pills to identify them as a certain variety. Again, the dealer doesn’t put any kind of mark on the pills, he/she just buys them with logos already on them. Yes, you might be able to trace a certain logo to a dealer if you tried hard enough, but again, logos are not directly associated with dealers, but rather they are associated with pill-makers. Each pill variety and therefore each logo is widespread enough that any number of dealers in any given area may buy and sell the same ones. If anything, the pill logos might be able to trace a pill to its city of origin (which is not necessarily the city of sale or use; I’ve never dropped E, but I knew enough people who did in San Diego to know that most of the good ecstacy there is from Los Angeles or San Francisco). Then again, different labs may use the same logos, and there seem to be some varieties that are nationally known and therefore probably nationally made (judging from the conversations about ecstacy I’ve seen in IRC drug channels). So in the end, it’s mostly just a pretty picture.
Tada! Plastic zip bags, from the teensy to the large. I found this and similar sites by googling “small plastic bags” and clicking on likely links.
I also found this site, which is just plain weird.
Note the dramatic price difference between Uline and the other one. The suplly house I used to work for sold these all the time. $5 is about the right price to pay.
We mostly sold them to local gift shops for jewelry and such.
At work, we order ours from the Action Bag Company out of Illinois. The ones we use are to protect unit doses of medications from light.
I too use them to store beads, you can buy them from jewelry supply stores (scroll to the bottom), and they often ship their merchandise in them.
At least here on the East Coast I can assure you the crack dealers are (sometimes) selling their stuff ‘branded,’ as are (I’ve read) the heroin dealers.
Thanks for all the great answers, folks!
Crack Baggies would make a great band name! An actual band name that also cracks me up is REO Speedealer…
I once read an interview where a reporter was discussing these very same bags with a major manufacturer. They are being made by the same companies that manufacture sandwich bags and garbage bags. The reporter asked the manufacturer what he figured the intended use would be for a one inch square bag. The manufacturer suggested they could be used to store beads or fly fishing lures. The reporter pointed out that the company sold several million of these bags a year and asked the manufacturer if he though they were all being bought by fly fishermen. The manufacturer then basically said he was selling a legal product and he couldn’t determine what people would do with it after it was sold.
What Little Nemo said. There’s some legit uses but compare the fly fisherman to the daily crack user… A few new flies a year versus 360+ doses of crack/meth/smack a year.