Urban youth receive and line up package after package.
Unmarked plastic bags and cardboard boxes are haphazardly piled around the damp warehouse.
Luckily, merchandise has to move fast so the moisture rarely taints the product.
Gang members lurk outside, making sure security is tight inside and out. Everyone is armed.
This portrait is one common to most cities around the world. The poorest of society are looking for a way out of a slum.
Powerful gangs provide hope of a better life, or at least not a poverty-stricken one.
Drugs are like fine jewelry in that they retain value no matter where you are. There’s always someone willing to buy and sell.
Unexpected Dealer, Expected Outcome
Retired Navy Commander Adolph Garza recently pled guilty to purchasing large amounts of multiple types of drugs off a number of different dark web vendors.
He has been a long time resident of San Diego, California but has bought and distributed controlled substances since at least late 2016, near the time when Donald Trump won the presidency.
One of the key issues during the 2016 Trump campaign was immigration, drug smuggling and the building of a large physical wall enclosing the border.
The international black market has grown in technological sophistication and is greatly aided by the anonymity which the dark web provides.
The only wall which would stifle this sort of trade is a well-maintained firewall. Yet every defense has vulnerabilities.
Even physical walls can be tunneled under. Three such tunnels were found to be connected directly from San Diego downward through to Mexico in 2016.
Huge amounts of cocaine were seized during the bust.
The Techno-Dystopian West Coast
Adolph Garza’s case is a mere symptom of the growing issues facing the modern world.
California, in particular, was fortunate to receive a huge boom to the economy via rapid growth in tech industries.
Between 2010 and 2015, work in fields having to do with computers, biology, pharmaceutical research and other sorts of R&D grew immensely.
With profits rising at a steady rate, people from around the country and sometimes the world decided to move in.
San Diego, in particular, became a central hub for numerous tech firms.
Waves of highly paid yuppies (young urban professionals) crashed upon Californian shores. They were motivated and intelligent but, most of all, progressive.
While cities such as San Francisco have always leaned left, more and more locations within the state started to see the balance shift.
Homeowners, rent-seekers and house builders saw an opportunity to sell to the newcomers. The gradual process of gentrification had begun and still continues to this day.
As housing costs and rent prices rise more and more, people are left without shelter and take to the streets.
Newly installed piercing white lights shine upon the city roads at night.
During the day, young well-to-do men wearing overly tight jeans and sporting hair buns step over newly vacated old people that reek of alcohol and tobacco.
The large oppressive concrete towers, some freshly installed to keep up with the economic growth, bear silent witness to a county divided in two.
The have’s and the have-not’s share one deadly vice—addiction to hard drugs.
Many of the new sorts of drugs have been manufactured and distributed in large part thanks to the boom that caused gentrification in the first place.
Upper-class drugs are usually psychotropics and serious forms of “uppers”—think cocaine perfected by science.
Also, prescription medication can be found on the dark web and through people that know another person with the right connections.
Drugs that help someone stay up all night and stay focused on a single task are the bread and butter of these people.
The lower class is more into “downers” and opiates, drugs that numb the pain and give a drift off feeling.
Of course, methamphetamine and other drugs of that nature are popular here as well but at this level, it’s usually cut with crap and is very weak unless you know the right people.
Nowadays sellers and most buyers make use of the dark web to carry out transactions in a way that’s as secure as possible.
As time goes on, society as a whole becomes more and more tech-savvy. Criminal society, in particular, has a vested interest in staying one step ahead of law enforcement and adapts accordingly.
The endless cat and mouse games sharpen the claws, teeth, intellect and reflexes of both creatures.
The similarities between the present and the fictional representations of the future under the label cyberpunk are uncanny.
Gangs thrive in poverty thanks to desperate people in need of a livelihood.
Recruitment is easy and can only grow as long as there is a willing base of participants.
As more people are left destitute and unable to get a hold on their situation, others can exploit them to thrive.
Increases in gang violence have already appeared in San Diego.
All of this, coupled with the hotheadedness over immigration, may lead to further tragedy.
Another aspect of poverty is racial bigotry. As people struggle to find meaning and reason for their misfortune, they are likely to lash out against those they perceive as different.
At least we will be able to record it all in high definition and share it on twitter as the NSA cracks our phones and adds more data into their cyclopean databases.