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Cocaine Country



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Quality Control
Photograph by Carlos Villalón

Before buying a farmer's cocaine base, a dealer cooks a sample in a spoon to see if it has been processed properly. A good product simmers quietly, and the dealer will pay top dollar for it—about $1,500 for a bag that contains a kilogram and a half, a bit more than three pounds. Base made with dirty ingredients snaps loudly. The dealer may reject it entirely or buy it at a lower price and reprocess it. Complex chemistry in a secret lab will turn the base into cocaine. Depending on the quality and the availability of the final product, the street value in the U.S. and Europe may range from $20 to $225 a gram.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1
Film Type: Digital Kodak back 520
Lens: 20mm Canon f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/15 @ f/3.5-4
Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Unrecorded
Lighting Techniques: Available light


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