Germany’s capital, Berlin, has plenty of vices to offer visitors: legal sex workers who can be window-shopped from boutique storefronts, bondage raves that bang non-stop all weekend long, and legal weed (for qualifying patients, of course). Today, you can add cocaine-delivery services to that list, too.
Berlin’s cops call these illicit services “cocaine taxis.” They’re not actual taxis, but with a single text or phone call, these coke slingers will bring nose candy to a designated address, swap the goods for cash inside of the vehicle, then scoot off their next destination while you’ve got a bag of fresh Snow White in your hands.
"It was like ordering pizza, it was normal," an anonymous source nicknamed “Michael,” who purchased cocaine taxi services, told the German news site RBB. "It made me feel like it wasn't wrong."
Cocaine taxis in Berlin can often deliver their product within 30 minutes to an hour, though delivery times are longer on the weekends. While the convenience of simply having some blow brought right to your doorstep may sound incredibly awesome, that ease-of-access has a downside. According to Michael, he eventually “lost control” of his habit, and with a little help from his friends, he began snorting (and buying) cocaine on a daily basis.
As it has in the US, cocaine has been experiencing a revival over the past few years in Germany, as well. While everyone’s been talking about pot’s medicinal promises and opioids’ soul-gripping addiction rates, cocaine has largely flown under the public’s radar. According to a recent wastewater study of Berlin’s sewer systems, cocaine residue levels in the water nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018. Last year, there were 35 deaths in Berlin believed to be related to cocaine use.
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Furthermore, the popularity of cocaine taxis parallels the spike in cocaine use. In 2018, Berlin police investigated just 11 cases concerning “cocaine taxis.” Between May and October of this year, Berlin police opened 35 more. Why so many cocaine taxis, despite the obvious risk of conducting illegal drug business through mobile devices?
As explained by one man who operated his own cocaine taxi service with two friends, it all boils down to the money. “Adrian” (not his real name) told Handelsblatt Today that in one month, he and his buddies made €18,000 ($20,000 USD), with 456 deliveries to 90 individual clients. Berlin police also confirmed that cocaine taxi phone numbers received hundreds of requests per day.
Of course, cocaine with convenience isn’t a new thing. Drug rings have distributed cocaine through taco shops, McDonald’s drive-thrus, and even actual pizza delivery services. However, it is a little astounding that street dealers have an easier time delivering cocaine than legally licensed weed deliverers do driving weed to registered marijuana patients.
So, by all means, feel free to ring up a cocaine taxi next time you’re in Berlin. Just don’t be surprised if there’s an undercover cop waiting for you inside of that coke cab.
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