Never, Ever, Believe The Value Of Drug Seizures


Another incident giving us the clue as to why we should never believe the value assigned to drug busts:

Record $1,000,000,000 cocaine haul discovered hidden inside soy flour containers

No, not really.

More than 4,000 bricks of cocaine, each weighing a kilogram, were discovered packed inside four soy flour containers destined for Lome, the capital of Togo, at Montevideo. Uruguay’s customs director Jaime Borgiani estimated the drugs to be worth a billion US dollars on the European market.

Think about that European value for a moment. 4 million grammes at $250 a gramme would give us that $billion. And a price of $250 a gramme would be something of a surprise to European consumers really.

But more than that, the drugs were intercepted in Montevideo. Which isn’t, as we might note, in Europe. It’s rather closer to the likely production site in Peru, Colombia or Bolivia. In fact, the UN has cocaine salts in Uruguay costing some $11 per gramme. And that’s retail, not wholesale.

A better valuation of this 4 tonnes is therefore – just to give a rough number – some $50 million. Sure, a decent chunk of change but nothing like the $billion being quoted.

Just never do believe any valuation given in a drugs bust.

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Yes, it’s like those manganese nodules at the bottom of the ocean you write about. Potentially worth billions, but not where currently situated.