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Dispatch / The Mexican Drug War / January 26, 2009
By Pancho Montana

Pancho Montana is an eXiled Special Mexican War on Drugs Correspondent. As a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, located in northern Mexico, Mr. Montana lives in Gulf Cartel territory. That means the streets belong to the Zetas, a paramilitary organization trained by the Yankees and hired by the Gulf Cartel to keep things civilized and business booming. His first dispatch is about neighborhood drug stores called “tienditas.” They’re sort of like your local Rite Aid, but they don’t carry any Tylenol.

MONTERREY, MEXICO — In my neighborhood there are two tienditas. Mainly they sell crack and powdered cocaine. A tiendita can be set up in any place. It does not have to be a store, but for the sake of keeping up appearances they usually are. I guess they don’t want the continuous flow of clients and taxis double and triple-parked to raise unnecessary suspicion.

They don’t need to advertise on billboards, although they could if they wanted to. (I don’t want to talk much about police/government involvement, but I’ll say this: the cops protect the stores and patrol the streets like regular cops should, only that they report to the Zetas.) Anyway, word-of-mouth spreads the message that there is a new place, right across the street, where you can get your fix easily and without hassle.

The buying process is simple. You walk into the store, go to the counter, ask for your drug of choice (crack, blow or weed), pay, walk out and enjoy. It’s that simple! It’s very impersonal, you don’t have to go through all those trust issues I hear you people have for scoring shit in the US.

The inventory is simple, too. These aren’t boutique medical marijuana shops I hear you have in California that offer 50 types of weed. No, the main business of a tiendita is piedra, slang name for crack cocaine. But after a drug shop becomes more established, the management expands into powder cocaine and pot. The quality is not very good. They cut it too much. That’s why a bolsita (baggie) of zetas pase (blow) is usually called rabia (rabies). Imagine why.

But even if you start foaming at the mouth like an infected dog, you will never complain about the price. The minimum amount for a cocaine purchase — either crack or blow — is 1/2 gram for $120 pesos ($8.50 USD). Until very recently it was $100 pesos ($7.00 USD), but the zetas added $20 pesos to the price. The general druggies now think the zetas are a bunch of greedy fuckers. But if you look at it from the zetas point of view (remember, they are businessmen), that little price increase multiplied by the thousands of tienditas they run in Mexico increases their earnings big time. So they are more like greedy fucking geniuses, because the average addict doesn’t care about another measly $20 pesos. They will pay the price as long as they can get a fix. If you ask me it is a good business move for them. Sure there is a small price increase for the consumer, but using one of their tienditas is safer than going to a bad neighborhood and it’s just around the corner.

As for pot, one should stay away from the shit they sell at the tienditas, it’s crap, all grinded together with the sticks and seeds. They sell the weed in pezetas, which are small, sealed plastic bags with like 3-4 joints of regular size. But if you want good weed, you need a good connection. (That is what I got.)

Who works in the tienditas? Basically, anyone stupid and crazy enough. Generally, it is the first career move for would-be thugs that want to make a name for themselves. There are no armed guards, as far as I know, watching out for the store. But generally anyone who works there carries a pistol or has a NexTel handy to call for the real zetas if anything weird happens. Sometimes they will even keep an AK, but that is up to their bosses I think. The tiendita shop keepers also serve as the fall guys. When the army comes, they take away these idiots and the real owners just get a few more that same day.

The tiendita is protected by a network of informers known as Los Halcones, or hawks. They frequently come in the form of taxi drivers, even street vendors could be in on it. If you look closely, you’ll see that taco stands are located in ideal places to inform of suspicious activity or if an army convoy is headed there to bust them. The Halcones are complemented by the police. They can be seen making the rounds around the neighborhood acting as informers, too. They’ll report on anything out of the ordinary and detain suspicious people. If they are in luck and catch a possible “pusher” competing for business, they take him to the zetas. (He’ll probably end up being dissolved in a barrel or have his head chopped off and a pig’s head screwed in there instead and be thrown onto the street for kids to play with.)

The police is corrupt and are generally assholes who deserve the reputation they have. Most of the general population hates them. More than anything, the cops are afraid of the narcos because they know that to them a cop’s life is worth nothing. And it’s not like the public will mourn these fuckers.

Who buys drugs from a tiendita? Everyone and anyone buys there — from poor construction workers, to middle class teenagers, to affluent young adults. But if you take drugs and have a good connection (and a little bit more cash), there is no reason for stepping into a tiendita, unless you happen to be on a crack-smoking marathon, run out of your supply and can’t wait for a delivery.

But there is one thing the tienditas don’t carry, and that is pills. Right now I’m taking some little white ones called rivotril but generally the only ones I like are rohypnols (”blue, 542-marked, to go please”). You know them as roofies, I think. There is a whole druggie subculture around this pills all over Mexico. Since they are discontinued they are pretty hard to find, but ask anyone here that likes pills what their favorite one is. I’ll be suprised if they don’t say rohypnol, or “reinas” as they are called here. Our blue-eyed queens, haha! But that is it for now. Maybe I’ll cover the queens in my next dispatch.

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Add your own

  • 1. Izy  |  January 26th, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Thank you for that post … first class reporting …

  • 2. mx?  |  January 26th, 2009 at 4:39 am

    aaaah my bluish 542…do people in the States like them too?

  • 3. eXile fan  |  January 26th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Is there a UPS office in da same hood?

  • 4. Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky  |  January 26th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Good prices. Ounce of charlie costs about 50 euro/ounce in Amsterdam. Any Aussies or Kiwis care to share what the prices are Down Under? I’ve heard cocaine costs more than gold over in New Zealand.

  • 5. Narcoleptic  |  January 26th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Great article. I remember when Mexico tried to legalize drugs some years back and the US government freaked out and made them go back on it. But who can blame the government for wanting a piece of that action? Too bad the product is so shitty.

  • 6. Anonymous  |  January 26th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    #2, Yeah, looks like even Yanquis get the blues.

  • 7. El Borracho  |  January 27th, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Monterrey isn’t all that far from Austin, Texas, where rohypnol was king for most of the 90’s. From punkers scared of smack, to co-ed date rape victims, everybody loved the roofies. If you gotta take pills, go the other direction with dexedrine or Adderall(tm). Or better yet, avoid pills altogether and stick with something safe, like crack.

  • 8. Ben  |  January 27th, 2009 at 2:49 am

    I’ve heard the going rate for coke in NZ is $300 – $400 a gram, which is about $200USD. Good luck with that.

  • 9. mx?  |  January 27th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    really? for a gram? a single gram? goddamn and I thought keeping a coke habit here was expensive, for $400 USD you can get like an ounce of scalefish i think, and its expensive now.

  • 10. Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky  |  January 28th, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Found some info from The Economist:

    They claim a gramme went at $714.30 back in 2007.

  • 11. S Serrano  |  February 3rd, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Ay Mexico! There used to be such optimistic thoughts for Monterrey, where people actually work a 9-5 workday, without a siesta. Tell Pres. Calderon this is what it feels like to lose a War on Drugs. Go watch Traffic again. I do it just to hear Catherine Zeta-Jones scream into to the phone “Just shoot him in the fucking head!”

  • 12. Isabella  |  March 20th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Awesome article about the tienditas. What’s the story about prescription drugs? i.e. Ativan, Wellbutrin, even penicillin. Also – when it’s ‘real’ why are these drugs so much cheaper and why do we get busted bringing them here (to LA.)


  • 13. nikki  |  November 20th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    datz sick

  • 14. Marc  |  December 2nd, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Yeah coke costs $400 a gramme in New Zealand and its shit, it gets cut to fuck by the huge chain of hands it passes through. Nobody has tried to really import and big amount of the stuff, i guess we just keep a little on hand for the Americans who visit. NZ’s biggest drug problem is meth but they call it P here. It goes for NZ$1000 a gramme! You can buy a bag with 0.1 of a gramme for NZ$120.

  • 15. capitalist  |  July 1st, 2010 at 11:18 am

    kool i hope the totalitarian dictatorship way of life in mexico spreads to other parts of the world wouldnt it be awesome if we have businesses running countries with absolute power instead of government fuck democracy communism anarchy etc love capitalism fuck the people hail the businesses

  • 16. cracker  |  August 14th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Does anybody want to suck me off?

  • 17. Peter Piper  |  September 10th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Ummmm Wrong Forum, I think, Cracker.

  • 18. jerome  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 2:38 am

    So wen I go on holiday I go to one of these shops to buy good coke/crack? I’m from UK and the coke is like chalk its been cut that much!!!! So frustrating, I wanna try good coke/crack so heading to mexico in may? Where is the easiest place to go I mean which part of mexico?

  • 19. jerrym7  |  October 24th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you so much for these down to earth articles! They are so awesome. They are really down to earth for those who really wants to know what goes on in the drug cartel world. Please keep them coming. And once again thank you.

  • 20. Mohn Marsh  |  January 17th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Drive to DETROIT, any where on the EASTSIDE of DETROIT is where you will find crack and heroin for cheap. 100 dollars an eight ball for coke/crack and 80 dollars a gram for heroin.

  • 21. Mohn Marsh  |  January 17th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    LANSING MICHIGAN also has tons of crack cocaine. DRIVE to the SOUTH SIDE to find the crack. Or Anywhere near downtown near the capitol on the WEST SIDE Pine St is a good start. The hookers are all over on Kalamazoo St on the EAST SIDE they always know where to get the crack for cheap. Crack in LANSING MI is 125 dollars AN 8ball. LANSING is dangerous much like DETROIT but for the most part the dealers run off the idiots that rob people because they are chasing off customers.

  • 22. Davey  |  January 22nd, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    So where is the Coke haven then in Mexico? i’m lookin to move out there soon but don’t want cops, corrupt or not up my ass, especially since it seems stuff like MDMA seem non existent.. i just wanna refine my Spanish get some fine women an have nice access to California(I’m British)Europes going down the shitter and some accept some don’t – way its going i dont, all i can get it £100($160+) a g coke which in my mind should be £30 a g…pure shit i jus wanna earn a little, enjoy the sunshine and experience the America’s is that to much to ask?Very interesting article keep up the good work!

  • 23. diego  |  June 21st, 2015 at 10:09 am

    pretty good article i had two tienditas near and one like 20 minutes of here, i remember when i went to buy them coke the tenders always asked me for rivotril (clonazepam) to bad most of them are closed 🙁 good thing I have my own dealers now in Monterrey with low medium and high quality 🙂 depends on how much money i have. if you come here and want to buy ill recommend ask a friend or at a bar at night. there has been a culture where dealers don’t want to sell to unknown people and those are the ones that have the good quality maybe you can get some weed or coke at a flea market but most probably it is gonna be low quality.

  • 24. mi  |  July 30th, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Donde estas LA chiva end mexico yo give n Tabasco y Cancun y yo conoce todo los tiendas d los Z pero Nada de heroin Nada de heroina (chiva)

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