Gil-Scott Heron, Griselda Blanco, and John Belushi: Great Articles About Cocaine

Longform.org's guide to the greatest long articles ever written.
June 1 2013 7:15 AM

The Longform Guide to Cocaine

Stories about blow that don’t suck.

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“‘It's just so frustrating. Because it's never a half-assed decision to buy coke. [It's] like, “okay, let's do it.” It's not the kind of thing where you say, "eh... maybe. So you get all the people together; you get the money; and then you call and you can't get it. It's a level of frustration I don't think you really experience anywhere else. They're playing with your emotions.’”

Snow Job
Skip Hollandsworth • Texas Monthly • April 2002

Two aggressive Dallas cops. One confidential informant. Hundreds of pounds of cocaine. Fifty-three drug traffickers busted. Sound too good to be true? It was.

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“Little did the 41-year-old attorney know that she was about to blow the lid off a conspiracy to plant large amounts of ground-up Sheetrock disguised as cocaine or methamphetamine on poor Hispanics, all of whom spoke little or no English, and get them sent to prison on trumped-up charges of drug trafficking. The Sheetrock Scandal, as it is now called, has embarrassing echoes of the controversial drug-related arrests of forty black men and women in the Panhandle town of Tulia in 1999. The FBI has launched an investigation into the activities of Dallas Police narcotics officers, and the DA's office has dismissed 63 cases against 44 defendants, some of whom have spent five months in jail; another 17 cases against 9 defendants are expected to be dismissed. The scandal has tarnished the reputations of Dallas police chief Terrell Bolton and Dallas County district attorney Bill Hill, who have had to rebut allegations that they and their top lieutenants failed to notice the misdeeds taking place right under their nose.

“Most disturbing about the scandal, at least to many Dallas citizens, is the realization that the police are not even coming close to getting drugs off the street. Of the 1,447 pounds of powdered ‘cocaine’ that were supposedly seized in 2001, much of it discovered in large busts that were later ballyhooed at press conferences, nearly 700 pounds reportedly turned out to be fake. ‘It's hard to believe something so sinister could have happened,’ says Barbare. ‘And it's even harder to believe a system was in place to have let it happen.’

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Max Linsky is a founding editor of Longform.org.