The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream

By Randol Contrems | Go to book overview

FIVE
Crack is Dead

1994–1997. THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE of the Bronx drug world had quieted, almost disappeared. Beepers and cell phones replaced brazen street dealers. Profits were down; corporate-style earnings, gone. New crack dealers were in for a big surprise. No customers. Crack had stopped its rumble, settled into a deep sleep.1 Times had changed.

While Gus was doing his prison bid in New Jersey, Pablo made one bad business move after another. He was not alone. Most of the crack dealers I knew were also doing poorly and complaining about low sales. Yet the heroin dealers in the area were experiencing a surprising sales boom. Now neighborhoods that had been afflicted with crack were featuring long lines of haggard dope fiends, sometimes starting from a dope spot and wrapping around a corner.2 As a struggling crack dealer, Pablo turned to the heroin action. But he had gotten a late start.

The heroin market had become saturated during his Georgia days, and he struggled in his efforts to launch a neighborhood operation. Determined, he tried to enter the infamous heroin market in the St. Ann’s section of the South Bronx. However, its powerful Puerto Rican owner demanded two thousand dollars daily for the right to sell next to his workers. And for two weeks, Pablo barely made the daily rent. He was out.

New plan. With his brother Geraldo, Pablo tried to enter the heroin market of El Barrio, or Manhattan’s East Harlem. However, when I visited Pablo there, I often sensed tension between his Dominican workers and the established Puerto Rican dealers. One day, the barrio dealers pulled out their weapons and confronted Pablo, ordering him to leave. Pablo exited, trying his luck in other neighborhoods, but always failing. Times were hard.

-105-

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The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Stickup Kids - Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations (after Page 11 4) ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Becoming Stickup Kids 33
  • One - The Rise of the South Bronx and Crack 35
  • Two - Crack Days- Getting Paid 56
  • Three - Rikers Island- Normalizing Violence 72
  • Four - The New York Boys- Tail Enders of the Crack Era 87
  • Five - Crack Is Dead 105
  • Part Two - Doing the Stickup 115
  • Six - The Girl 117
  • Seven - Gettin’ The Shit 136
  • Eight - Drug Robbery Torture 151
  • Nine - Splitting the Profits 176
  • Ten - Living the Dream- Life after a Drug Robbery 191
  • Part Three - Todo Tiene Su Final 203
  • Eleven - Fallen Stars 205
  • Conclusion 235
  • Notes 243
  • Index 267
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