The Supply-Side Scourge

Cocaine is so abundant that interdiction fails to affect prices

The traffickers hid their stockpile where they hoped no one would want to look: inside 10-gal. drums of sodium hydroxide, a caustic powder. When narcotics agents discovered the cache last Friday night in a warehouse in Queens, N.Y., they had to call in hazardous-waste specialists to handle the material. Total amount seized: as much as 5 1/2 tons. Only five weeks earlier, police had broken open a $6 padlock on the door of a warehouse in suburban Los Angeles and discovered 21.4 tons of cocaine, the largest U.S. cache ever grabbed. All told, authorities estimate, they will have seized 85 tons...

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