A Nigerian Drugring in a German Park for the People?
Today we ran for 25 minutes in Park Volksheide. It is now completely obvious to me, that the place is swarming with Nigerian drugtrafficers, except for a small group of six north Africans. The system in which they operate is fairly complex as it is obvious to the watchful observer. One needs only the slightest itch of streetwisdom to understand and read the true purpose of their very evident bodylanguage. The system as I have observed it in the park from running two times around it, works a little like the following.
There are roughly four groups of trafficers, all Nigerians: the shopkeepers, the watchmen, the couriers, and the hustlers.
The shopkeepers are the ones that actually ‘keep the shop.’ They possess the drugs, which is hidden in the bushes, while they stand on the pathway only a few metres from the tree or bush under which the drugs are kept. They do not actually carry the drugs on them. While there is no ‘customer’ the shopkeeper hangs around on one specific spot, barely moving from his place.
The watchmen are found at the entrancegates to the park and sit on the grass fields. They sit on the small fence and observe incoming traffic. They may stand on the outlook for police patrols, undercover agents, for possible buyers, or perhaps even competition. They possible use a cellphone to warn the shopkeepers, or signal the couriers.
The couriers either ride a bike or walk. The couriers get the drugs from the shopkeepers, then pass it on to other couriers or to the hustlers. It’s possibly together with the hustling part of the hierarchical test in order to become a shopkeeper. You work your way up, start as a watchman, become a courier, then a hustler. If you’re good and make a lot of trades, you may become a shopkeeper.
The actual hustlers catch the clients who may drive their bikes along or walk up to them. They dive into the bushes for a few seconds, or enter a quiet pathway. Within a few seconds to a minute, the deal is done, and ways separate again.
The couriers make sure that the hustlers never run out of goods, and do not pile up too much money. They deliver goods back and forth to and from couriers and shopkeepers.
Ofcourse, I may be wrong in my assumptions, since I do not get to see the actual substance in my own hands. I see a hustler quickly throw a package into the bushes as I approach them. I see men walking in and out of the bushes, passing small packages or money from hand to hand, I see a lot of ‘handshakes’ and eyes avoiding me or suspiciously keeping a watch over me, I see backs turn ‘unsuspiciously’ and quick one second meetings.
The whole system ofcourse doesn’t function as an isolated phenomenon. The neighborhood has a remainder of international telephone and internet businesses, and second hand shops. Some one these are owned by Nigerians, most of them by Turks. There is one store of African hair and beauty products. These stores are stacked with mostly worthless and mostly useless things, some shops hardly open their doors, others hardly sell anything, or don’t see a customer for days. If any business is suitable for laundring money, these are. It is difficult to trace real turnover, it’s even more difficult to check inaccurate sales.
I am curious if the complexity and vastness of a drugsnetwork, which includes petty theft and burglary, secondhand stores, internet and telephone business, drugstrafficing, and the inevitable,although I have not seen this element myself in Berlin yet, prostitution, is of any politicians’ interest. Especially, since Neukoelln is a poor section of Berlin, with smallminded or inexperienced politicians, while the illegal drugtrade being a political problem fore all.
Today, I am exhausted. My legs and joints long for rest, my back refuses to provide support. All of my muscles and bones are telling me to lay down and recuperate. At one of the Turkish second-hand shops I bought a small sugar bowl with a golden band running over its side for 1 Euro. “Winterling Marktleuthen Bavaria,” the bottom reads. The top’s handle is decorated with a small golden cirlcle, the top around it with a corresponding golden band.