Drug Trafficking Generates US$ 2.4 million a Month in São Paulo's "Cracolândia"

Unifesp research also shows that almost half of the regulars buy drugs with money from thefts

São Paulo

Kaio J. jumped the short wall and sent a kiss to the driver standing in the traffic jam. In the next second, he broke the car window, put half the body into the vehicle, grabbed the cell phone on the dashboard, and ran.

With cuts on his arm and his face bloody from shrapnel, he was stopped just ahead by two policemen. He carried three cell phones in his pockets. Theft, as he later told the court, had a purpose: to exchange the cell phones for drugs.

At 19 years of age, the boy of short stature and slight body is no exception in the center of São Paulo, which started to be occupied by drug addicts in the 90s and became known as cracolândia, the land of crack.

1,680 people, on average, consume drugs daily in Cracolândia (Foto: Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress, COTIDIANO)

Almost half of its regulars (46%), according to a survey by the Unifesp Alcohol and Drug Research Unit (Federal University of São Paulo), buy drugs with the proceeds from robberies.

Conducted in December, the work was based on interviews with 240 people captured accounts of the population through portable devices, handled discreetly by the researchers in the pocket of their lab coats.

According to the study, 1,680 people, on average, consume drugs daily in Cracolândia, which spreads through the streets of Santa Ifigênia, Campos Elísios and Luz, an area that in the distant past housed mansions and residences of São Paulo's high society.

The researchers also concluded that each user spends, on average, R$ 192.5 per day on crack. In other words,  traffic generates R$ 9.7 million (US$ 2.4 million) monthly there.

The amount is higher than that estimated by Mayor Bruno Covas (PSDB) per month in 2019 —R$ 7.3 million, on average.

Police call the area a "cash mine" and "the country's largest drug sales point." The criminal faction PCC controls Cracolândia.

 Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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