Coke Values



Cocaine Values

Wholesale, importation, prices differ considerably to retail, street values. By reference to recent newspaper articles it is clear neither the forms in which narcotics are sold, nor the prices have changed since my departure in 1990.

An ounce of cocaine could be purchased in the US for, on average, $700.  If one bought in bulk, discounts were available.  But for this simple exercise, I will base the calculations on an importer buying and selling a single ounce, the equivalent of 28 (approx) grams. An ounce of cocaine would form a small pile in the palm of your hand and could, with reasonable ease, be hidden in a myriad of places.

Having managed to import the drug into Bermuda, its value has now increased at least 3 fold.  In the summer, when there are plenty of tourists to hide among, more cocaine enters the country.  The laws of supply and demand apply; greater supply in summer provides a value of $2300 / ounce; reduced supply in winter provides a value of $3000 / ounce.

Expert Witness:

To gauge the profit made, please click on the following link which is submitted in honour of Alex Severin (Bermuda Police Narcotics dept.).  Alex has been described as an 'expert witness' with regard to street values, as was the author of this site.  All this really means is that you are aware of street prices and can undertake some very basic calculations.  As Alex is not the sharpest tool in the box, the following is provided to assist him:


Note: the above calculator does not take into account any 'cutting' / adulteration that may occur (see below).

Assuming the drug is imported in summer, if acquired at $700 and sold as a single lot for $2300, the profit on the ounce is $1600 (less expenses i.e. flight).

But the drug is sold in smaller, street quantities.   The usual method of distribution is in a small plastic 'twist'.  A 'twist' is simply the snipped-off corner of a plastic bag into which the cocaine powder is placed and tied with a plastic-coated wire tie.  Each twist contains half a gram of cocaine and is therefore referred to on the street as a 'halve'.

A 'halve' sells for $125.  Therefore, from a single ounce, the importer can create 56 'halves' which will retail at about $7,000.

The profit on the ounce is $6,300 (less expenses i.e. flight) assuming the importer acquires from the USA and has not purchased in Bermuda the higher $2300.

If you are prepared to turn your cocaine powder into crack cocaine (rocks), then the profit again increases.  Each 'rock' will sell for $50 (they are referred to as 'fifties').  Three rocks can be created from a halve.   Therefore, from a single ounce, the importer can create 168 rocks which retail at about $8,500.

The profit on the ounce is about $7,800 (less expenses i.e. flight).

It was unusual to find suppliers importing the rock form indeed, I can only recall one instance where an importer was found to be in possession of a large 'rock' (it was a disc straight from the base of a saucepan where he had cooked up a large quantity).  It is not in the supplier's interest to become involved in crack for the following reasons:

  • The difference between taking a profit of $6,300 and $7,800 on an ounce was negligible when considered in relation to the risks.  If selling an ounce as halves you only need make 56 illegal transactions and hope that the persons to whom you sold would not inform on you, attempt to steal from you or underpay you.  Selling powder is faster and safer.
  • Cooking up large quantities of cocaine can be dangerous and involves a lot more paraphernalia - also for packaging purposes.
  • You get a better class of user with powder cocaine, violence is less likely to be associated.
  • Cocaine powder can be 'cut', cheap additives included to increase the volume i.e. reduce the amount of cocaine in each halve
  • Crack users want powder to support their own habit

With regard to the latter, crack users generally purchased their powder on the streets.  They pay $125 for a halve and cook this up to make 3 rocks which they then sell at $50 each making a profit of $25.  Do this twice and the profit is $50, enough to buy a rock of crack for their own use; self-sufficiency.

There were always those who were prepared to take short-cuts.  One stunt was to cut pieces of soap into little blocks that looked like rocks of crack, more so if wrapped in a small piece of plastic and sold at night.   These duds were affectionately  refereed to as 'fraggle rocks'.


It will be appreciated that the above values are in relation to a single ounce of cocaine and that no allowance has been made for adulteration, or 'cutting'.  If one can buy 100% pure cocaine in the US (unlikely if buying in an ounce quantity), there was no reason why it could not be 'cut'.  We typically found the cocaine exhibits we seized to be 70% (approx) cocaine, that is to say, almost a third of the 'halve' (.16 gram) was other than cocaine.

Having imported an ounce of cocaine, this could quickly and cheaply be added to.  This was all well and good if you could be certain that the drug you had bought was pure (100%) cocaine, but every time the drug changed hands the likelihood of it being 'cut' increased.  If it were possible to cut the imported cocaine by just 10%, this would result in a further 5 halves being made from the ounce, adding another $625 to the profit (the additional overhead being about 3 grams of adulterant, a negligible sum):

The profit on the ounce (sold as powder - 'halves') is $6,925 (less expenses i.e. flight).

The $700 outlay for a US ounce of cocaine just increased ten fold.

A sad fact about the investigation procedures in Bermuda is that no one collated information about the exhibit's purity and the percentage of each adulterant contained within them.  The intelligence could have proved extremely useful.  Indeed, so poor was the consideration of the 'larger picture' that even obvious connections (the arrest of Vernon Dill - see diary in November) were not pursued. I suspect this was intentional.




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