Using Vices to Make Money: Taylor Deals Drugs from her Dorm Room
Oct 26, 2015
Imagine entering your psychology lecture and sitting down in your seat — and a drug kingpin sits down next to you.
That’s probably unlikely, but a school as big as NYU certainly has its fair share of dealers ready to plug your fix. This is exactly what Taylor* does, an NYU student who sells drugs to everyone from frat brothers to that kid who hasn’t left the library in three days.
What’s on her menu? Anything you want, really. Taylor buys her drugs from online anonymous marketplaces, like the now-defunct Silk Road, located on the Dark Web and accessible only through services like the Tor Project. This puts her ahead of more traditional dealers, where there is often a chain of command through which the drugs travel — and it’s not just because it means she has access to everything.
“When you order online, the economies of scale are ridiculous,” she said. “I order a sheet of 100 tabs of acid for like $250. So it’s like less than $3 dollars [per tab] and street price is like $15 if you’re really generous.”
The Dark Web is a term that refers to much of the illicit content of the Deep Web, which are all the websites not indexed by your standard search engine. Of this illicit content, 15 percent is focused on drugs. Taylor uses Tor to access the Deep Web because it guards against her IP being discovered by those snooping on her activity, and she protects her lines of communication with market dealers using PGP encryption. In other words, she does everything she can to cover up her virtual tracks.
When placing her order online, Taylor has the drugs delivered via mail in airtight packages, and after picking them up, she then divvies up the contents into a briefcase tucked away in her closet.
Taylor sells to 15 to 20 people a week, which adds up to roughly eight hours of work, bringing in around $600 in that time — not a bad part-time gig for a student putting herself through college. She’s using the money to pay for her living arrangements, and the money will fund her studying abroad next year as well.
Somewhat surprisingly to Taylor, her biggest customers are members of Greek Life at NYU, despite how much it can seem to fly under the radar.
“[Frats] are very interested in weed and coke, and same with sororities, and I was really surprised by that because NYU does not seem Greek Life-oriented at all, let alone for them to be moving that quantity,” Taylor said. “They’re usually my biggest deals because one person will just meet me for the entire frat.”
However, Taylor makes it clear that it’s not all fun and games, and while she hasn’t had any close calls with authority figures thus far, she says she’s always on the lookout.
“It is stressful because at any moment I could get the rug ripped out from under me,” Taylor said. “It’s risky business but it does pay off. And it’s not like I’m running a cartel and planning on doing this for the next 10 years.”
There are definitely peripheral perks that come with being a drug dealer which many people may not even consider — the social life.
“It sounds really shallow but I know of every party on campus all the time, whether I’m going to drop something off or someone mentions it,” Taylor says. “I’m always welcome everywhere because I always have the goodies, so it’s a nice open invite.”
Taylor tries not to let being a drug dealer consume her life, and said she is humbled by the fact that if her clients weren’t interested in drugs, she would have to struggle to find something else illicit to do because she doesn’t have the time for a full-time job.
“I’m dependent on people’s bad habits,” Taylor said. “That’s humbling enough to never want to rip people off.”
*The name of the subject of this article has been changed to protect his or her anonymity.
A version of this article appeared in the October 26 print edition. Email Alex Bazeley at [email protected]