What are the laws on purchasing illegal items?

What are the laws in this? Since it’s illegal, is the buyer actually required to pay any money for any of it, or could they just say they’ll pay them later, take everything and never bother? Or what would happen if they even just walked up to the illegal items dealer with a big truck, then just went up grabbed everything the dealer had and drove off? How would the dealer do anything, since calling the police would cause them to find the illegal items, which could be easily traced back to the dealer himself.

Since apparently some illegal items dealers like to let people just take whatever they want with the promise of “paying it back later”, why don’t people just walk in, take EVERYTHING, say they’ll pay it off later, repeat this process to every single other dealer in their city, then actually sell it competently to other consumers who will pay for it upfront?

Yes, it’s a problem that drug dealers can’t call the cops. That’s why they typically take matters into their own hands. The reason you probably don’t want to rip off the local crack dealer is that he and his buddies will kill you.

And yeah, sometimes your dealer will let you buy on credit. That doesn’t mean every dealer will, or that they’ll give you unlimited credit. Letting customers buy on credit is a well known business model whereby the merchant gets increased business but takes on the risk of not being paid back. It’s a lot less risky if the merchant can use the legal system to help collect on debts, but it’s not easy even with the law on your side.

So do drug dealers get ripped off sometimes? Yeah they do. Can they go to the cops about it? No they can’t. Does that mean you can rip off drug dealers with impunity? No it doesn’t.

Which jurisdiction? You know laws vary between states and countries, yes?

And where are you that there are “illegal items dealers” with apparent habits of letting people take … items and paying later?

You’re right that in general an “illegal items dealer” can’t contact the police if they’re stiffed, but that’s why there is so much violence in criminal economics. If you don’t pay, they’ll pay someone to break your leg, and possibly take the illegal items back, and what you owe, with interest.

But what if the thief also lived in a place where you could legally shoot people that trespass onto your property with moderate warning if they look harmless, and no warning if they’re carrying a weapon? That would mean the thief could just install a few cameras outside his house and either call the police when a bunch of guys with steel pipes and machetes trespass into his property or just open fire on them?

If the dealers immediately send people after him, he could just drive over to a large police station and say there’s dozens of guys with steel bats and daggers running after him, and let the police take care of it. I doubt the dealers would want to attack an entire police station, because that would attract too much attention and force he government to quickly hunt down and destroy all of the other dealer’s nests.

I have no idea what state, but the country I’m looking for is the USA. I don’t actually live near any “illegal items dealers”, but I’ve heard that they do sometimes sell their items like that.

But isn’t sending some guys around to forcible take the products a bit risky? What if the thief just shoots the guys for trespassing, or the police come and arrest them? What if the thief isn’t at his home, or is at work in a large building, or has already consumed all of the products or sold them off? What if he has moved country, or gone somewhere very remote and isolated?

Or how about his own ship? He could just sail around the world in a small yacht, occasionally launching a small inflatable boat to go to the mainland and rob a items dealer, then RTB and sail away. You wouldn’t need a massive multi-million dollar yacht to do this, you could buy some sort of old freight ship or something.

Look, here are some cargo ships that are being sold for under $1 million dollars.



What if the thief just bought one of those boats, then got a few inflatable boats and just parked the cargo ship near a city, piloted his inflatable boat to the shore, got out and went to the dealer’s location, stole everything, then went back to the cargo ship, loaded it up and sailed away to sell it off? If was very wealthy, he could even just use a helicopter to quickly sell the merchandise to ensure his safety.

I have no experience with drug dealers, but my understanding (from movies and television) is that few of them will sell to a stranger without being introduced by an existing customer. For one thing, they would like some assurance that they’re not selling to a narc. Second, how do you think you’re going to find these drug dealers in strange cities?

Also, (again based on the movies and television), the larger dealers keep the locations of their stash secret and send out a low-level dealer to meet the customers.

Going by my limited knowledge of drugs from shows like ‘Banged Up Abroad’, I’d say that in almost every single case, the drug dealers have a ‘college’ proficiency in street smarts which usually beats any reasonably intelligent young/middle aged adult trying to sell drugs; especially considering how they sometimes convince educated drug mules that ‘black tape’ will cover the xray or that they’ve paid off airport officials.

If you watch that show sometime OP, you’ll see that these are not people to be messed with. As other posters said, they are introduced by a seducing individual who sometimes latches onto them like a hook, then when they’ve taken the ‘bait’ of drugs if they try to escape, they threaten to rob your house.

Based on my experience in Baltimore, if you go a block or two from the Inner Harbor (a big tourist area) you’ll walk past people on the street corner who will come up to you and try to sell you drugs. They are apparently not hard to find.

ETA: Note - I wasn’t buying, just happened to park in that area since the parking was significantly cheaper.

I have never heard of this happening, I think you might be wildly misinterpreting something from a movie, or treating something goofy from a sitcom like real life. Where did you get the idea of an illegal items dealer letting people take whatever they want?

Presumably the street-level dealers have only a small amount of product on them. (One reason is of course this limits the severity of the crimes they can be charged with.) The OP imagines going up to the home of the street-level dealer’s supplier and robbing them. And those are the ones who I suspect don’t make their location known, and also guard it closely.

But those are usually from normal consumers and people who don’t know what they’re doing. They can’t rob your house if your ‘house’ is a freight ship dozens of miles offshore with a few inflatable landing boats attached. If they try to attack you, you can just call the cops when you first see their boats coming from miles away, assuming they even have any boats, which they probably don’t.

Plus, how could they stop someone from just outright snatching the “items” out of their hands and off their shelves, and then just walking past them and going to the backroom, searching all the crates and boxes and taking everything they want and then just driving away?

Surely they would have to serve the stranger if he just popped up on their doorstep. And since they can’t call the police, what if the stranger pulled out a knife or a crowbar and threatened them with it? Or even just pried open their windows and helped themselves to their stuff. I guess that might make them be able to legally defend themselves, though. But then again guns are ineffective against people less than 21 feet away apparently, so you just get a bunch of guys with knives and crowbars to raid their main building, then quickly running away on your inflatable boat.

It would be easier if their shop was already open, because then you could “legally” just help yourself to their items, because then their items are basically “invisible” and don’t exist, and both of you are just hallucinating the items, since they’re illegal and they can’t call the cops.

I’ve heard of it from movies, and there was a post on this forum about some OP’s wife being indebted to a drug dealer.

Generally speaking, a contract is not legally binding if it obviously requires breaking the law.

Case in point, consider Dickerson v. Deno. A group of coworkers in Alabama made a verbal contract to pool their money, buy lottery tickets across the state line in Florida, and split the money if they won. One of them took the money to Florida, bought tickets, won several million, and refused to share it with the coworkers, denying that the verbal contract existed. It went to court and the plaintiffs managed to convince the judge that the contract did in fact exist but it was finally ruled that the contract wasn’t legally binding because the contract was made in the state of Alabama, where gambling was illegal.

For another example, a contractor in Portland Oregon built a million-dollar-plus warehouse and the customer refused to pay the bill. They went to court and the customer’s lawyers successfully argued that the contract was unenforceable because the contractor did not have a valid contractor’s license at the time (which is required in the state of Oregon) therefore the contract was not legally binding. Essentially, the contractor was selling something (their own labor) which they could not legally sell because there was a law which specifically prohibited it. I learned about this case from the Oregon CCB (Construction Contractors Board) when I took a seminar from them about contract law.

OTOH, if one party of a contract breaks the law while holding up their end of the bargain, that fact alone doesn’t invalidate the contract. Suppose Achmed pays Bianca $300 to deliver a package from Seattle to San Francisco (800 miles away) on the condition that the package must arrive in less than ten hours. Achmed can’t refuse to pay Bianca just because she drove 80+ mph to get there and broke the speed limit, unless the contract required her to do so. She could have taken an airplane and fulfilled the contract without breaking any laws.

Bottom line, a contract (whether verbal or written*) is not valid if it requires one or both parties to do something illegal, such as fencing stolen goods.


*There is a third type: an implied contract. When you order food in a restaurant, everyone knows that you are promising to pay for it afterwards. That’s an implied contract.

Please tell me you’re not serious. Why would you think that guns would be ineffective less then 21 feet away? Why wouldn’t someone threatening a drug dealer with a knife or crowbar just be shot or just threatened with being shot? And why do you think a drug dealer would serve a stranger who just showed up on their doorstep?

I remember reading somewhere that there is a good chance, that if your opponent is 21 feet or less away with a knife and you have a gun, then there is a very good chance that he will be able to close that distance and stab you before you have a chance you raise your gun, ready it and properly aim at him. Therefore, if you show up at a drug dealer’s doorstep with a melee weapon, that dealer will probably know not to try to shoot you, and will surrender his warehouse to you. Of course you would probably want some guys behind you for reinforcement.

I mean, you could also study his house with a drone or another guy for a few months before making any moves, and wait until there is a large-scale trade going on. Then if the trade is upon public land you could just literally walk up and go: “Hi! I’m Bob and I’m taking all your stuff!” and just start snatching stuff out of their hands and putting it in your car, picking up crates and boxes and putting them on your trailer. The drug dealers cannot stop you, since you have every single right to be where you are, since it’s public land and anyone can visit it, so they can’t shoot you for trespassing. They also can’t shoot you for stealing their stuff, since all their stuff is illegal, therefore “hidden” or “invisible”, so really you’re at the most just stealing empty, moldy cardboard boxes or old plastic bags, and perhaps not even that.

So that means that according to the law, you’re not trespassing on private property, and you’re not stealing anything either, so you’re completely clean and not breaking any law, however, if the dealers shoot you and your friends, then they’re murderers, since they just shot a bunch of dudes going for a walk down the road.

Hmm…this one’s difficult.

Drug dealers aren’t the only ones who can’t call the police. Neither can the person who is attempting to rob the dealer.

Well, unless the dealers were the type of people who just shoot random people up for no reason, then he wouldn’t need a reason to call the police, because he’s in a public area stealing invisible goods. Therefore shooting him would be murder, since it’s not against the law to steal invisible illegal goods in a public area.

This is one of the stranger questions I’ve seen here.

Yeah, sure, IF the guy is monitoring his cameras 24-7 and IF the police miraculously respond so quickly that they get there before the bad guys enter the house. You want to live your life in a state of siege for the sake of a handful of drugs?

Then what? Is he going to spend the rest of his life living in the police station? As soon as he goes back home he’s vulnerable again. Someone who has a load of illegal substances on his property is probably not going to want to get the police involved anyway.

Also, in my limited experience, drug dealers don’t operate out of a store front, with all their products sitting labeled on shelves. If you go to buy something, he’ll meet you somewhere with the goods, so all you could possibly take is whatever he brought to sell to you.

As for attacking the dealer with a knife, I’m pretty sure dealers are aware of such a possibility when they’re dealing with a new customer and would be prepared for it. They may have a gun ready, or they may have associates with their guns trained on you. Unless you’ve had serious combat training, the chances that you can overpower an experienced dealer are small. Do you really want to risk your life like that?

But they do. Over the years I’ve been dispatched about a dozen times to take a theft complaint and it turned out to be a dealer complaining about someone stealing their weed or coke.

That sounds like a joke but it is true.

We even had a guy walk right into the police station to make a complaint of his neighbor stealing over 50 baggies of marijuana out of his truck. The station Lt stared him right in the eyes and said “this job just gets better and better!”

It is not legal to steal illegal things and you can be charged with theft or robbery over it.

And this is why we have governments: To allow people to resolve disputes by appealing to an impartial entity which has set rules which are, ultimately, backed by the threat of violence, but which derives most of its authority from effectively universal recognition as a legitimate authority.

Remove that, and in theory nobody has any greater recognized authority than anyone else, so dispute resolution devolves directly into violence once there’s a serious disagreement.

I guess you’re thinking ofthis test from Mythbusters.

Note that the distance was more like 18 feet rather than 21. Also note that the knife-wielder had the knife drawn and was charging, while the gun-toter had a holstered, uncocked gun with the safety on. One should be cautious that a bad guy doing bad things on the street may ignore some of gun safety rules in exchange for a faster response time.