The Australians and New Zealanders seem to have a craving for methamphetamine that has been well established, but now, there's heroin. And it's not the good (and comparatively expensive) China White (#4 Heroin) that's hitting the streets. Mexican Black Tar (#3 Heroin) is making its inexpensive appearance in the slums and among the motorcycle gangs in Australia. Armani Stelio - on behalf of her brother, Sam Ibrahim - founder of Notorious (original gangster), just placed a large order from Los Caballeros Templarios (LCT), grown in Gurrero, refined in Michoacan. Their motto is "Only the dead see the end of war" but #3 heroin will certainly hasten the journey. One would have thought that he'd reach out to his shirt-tail cousins in the Middle East for heroin, but the Mexican version is less expensive and there is a lot less scrutiny at the point of export.
LCT now has a representative cell in Sydney handling the orders so it makes the matter of requesting methamphetamine (ice) or heroin much simpler from Mexican suppliers than it was in the past. Rumors being what they are, Notorious has an interest in selling (not merely using) to boost their profits, to enrich their membership and to expand their reach. Somebody needs to reach out to Detective Tim Chao and let him know that Notorious also plans to expand their sales operation into New Zealand.
Primer on Heroin Manufacture (Appendix: White Powder)
Heroin is derived from the fruit/flower of the opium poppy. In Southeast Asia, the growing season begins in autumn and about 120 days later harvesting can begin (in the spring). Papaver somniferum is one of the few species of poppy that produces opium. The flowers are colorful and vary in hue. Once they fall away, a green pod remains, which continues to grow. Opium alkaloid is only produced during the terminal ripening process, which lasts about two weeks.
While the fruit is still on the stem, incisions are made in the sides of the pod. Common practice requires the sap to seep out of the pod overnight for collection each morning for (roughly) the ensuing week.
Raw opium is converted to morphine base through boiling. The raw sap that was collected from the plant pod dissolves in boiling water and any obvious impurities such as plant fibers are scooped from the liquid opium. Quicklime is mixed with water and is then added to the boiling liquid opium. The morphine alkaloid reacts with the lime and impurities precipitate to the bottom of the pot. The liquid is poured through a filter into another container and ammonia is added and the mixture is heated. As it heats, the morphine solidifies and precipitates to the bottom of the pot. The liquid is separated off from the solid and what remains is #1 Heroin or morphine base.
The next step in the purification process necessary to create a usable narcotic requires acetic acid to combine with the morphine base. The mixture is heated to 85 degrees centigrade for two hours. This process chemically binds the morphine to the acid and creates chemical heroin.
Water is added to the chemical heroin and since heroin is water-soluble it becomes a solution. Common sodium carbonate is added to the heroin solution and the precipitate is taken from the bottom of the pot. That is #2 Heroin or heroin base.
From heroin base the manufacturer can make #3 Heroin (20 to 30 percent pure), often called brown heroin or smoking heroin. It has the general granular consistency and color of (unrefined) brown sugar. To make #3 Heroin, hydrochloric acid and caffeine are mixed with the heroin base and stirred until it dries. Mexican Heroin, also referred to as “black tar heroin” is essentially crude #3 Heroin with more impurities in it than is typically found in #3 Heroin. The impurities make the drug more toxic but occasionally add a more potent effect (depending on who made it). (Emphasis added)
In order to make #4 Heroin from heroin base, hydrochloric acid and ether are added. The process is complex, toxic and hazardous because of explosive fumes. Once the heroin base passes through this process, it’s usually around 90 per cent pure and is referred to as China White. China White (or #4) Heroin is a fine white odorless and colorless powder.