Monday, November 19, 2012

The Price of Cocaine in Russia

This is nothing particularly earth shattering, however, I find it interesting. So, I'll share it.

When Russian Mafia people buy cocaine from South American and sometimes Mexican sources (brokering for South American producers), they have an interesting way of figuring out what they are willing to pay for the product. 

The purchase price in calculated in Euros - 50% of the payment is calculated at the average street price - in the neighborhood of 35,000-40,000 euros per kilogram. 50% of the payment is calculated at the wholesale price at point of origin. Depending on who you buy it from (FARC has the best prices at present) and what quantity you are ordering it's somewhere between US$2,000 and US$2,500 per kilogram.

Oddly enough, the Chinese (Cháozhōu/Chiuchow Brotherhood - affiliated with Sun Yee On Triad in Hong Kong) are starting to use the same formula when they buy cocaine for shipment to Asia. I'm not sure who came up with the formula first, but based on what I'm hearing, the Russians did.

Naturally the price of street cocaine in Russia is what the market will bear. It's a commodity and price is based on supply and demand. Since I don't get to Russia all that often and when I do, I'm not buying or selling narcotics, I frankly don't know what cocaine goes for in clubs in Moscow. Some of the highest prices I've heard quoted comes from the street price in Austria - US$125,000 per kilo. 

Smuggling from Latin America to Russia would seem to be very straight forward. Toss it in a container and off it goes. The seller handles customs in Ecuador or which ever Pacific port of departure is involved and the Russians deal with customs on their end and whatever "roof" is involved, solves problems that may pop up on the buyer's side.

I don't know of all of the Russian groups who buy from Mexican middlemen, however the noteworthy Солнцевская братва (Solntsevskaya Brotherhood) and Family of Eleven/Brother's Circle are regular customers. I've also seen Уралмашевская группировка, the Yekaterinburg Mafia or "Railway Mafia", hanging around, looking for a deal. It shouldn't be surprising to note that the Railway Mafia runs its own political party in the Urals.

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