Rio's Drug Dealers Really Know How to Package Their Product
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Rio's Drug Dealers Really Know How to Package Their Product

Prudent warnings, inspirational quotes and Maradona – photos of the various designs you'll find on baggies, wraps and more.
August 16, 2016, 9:00am

The bag reads "Don't use near children." This picture was taken by Rio police and sent to local media.

This article originally appeared on VICE Brazil

In Rio de Janeiro, a wrap isn't just a piece of paper with a picture of a weed leaf on it. The market is competitive, so drug traffickers need to both be creative and make sure people know to come back to them, meaning baggies come tags denoting the name of the favela, the name of the boca – the location in the favela where drugs are sold – and the initials of the drug trafficking organisation.

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They also feature inspirational quotes, images of AK47s, names and faces of famous people, characters or events. Right now, for example, there are a bunch of wraps that feature the Rio 2016 Olympics logo – like the coke baggie above, which was recently found in a police raid in the Lapa neighbourhood in the centre of Rio. The print prudently warns users to keep the stuff away from children.

Photo by the author

I've always been fascinated with drug packaging and tried to hoard as many wraps and baggies as I could throughout the years, but still ended up losing most of them. My friend Mouchoque, who is a DJ and an MC, has a great collection – parts of his stash even made their way into the sleeve of his 2007 CD Eu Odeio a Barra.

Like me, Mou mourns the loss of a major part of his collection – life has a way of clearing out your shit – but he still has an impressive portfolio. For this series, I documented part of his collection, and found many more recent examples of colourful drug wraps in closed groups on Facebook and WhatsApp.

More on VICE:

Getting to Know the Drug Lord Who Controlled Rio's Biggest Slum

This Guy Is Charting London's Drug Use with a Discarded Baggie Map

What Happens When a Bag of Cocaine Bursts in Your Stomach

Marijuana wraps with homemade prints. Photo by the author

The white wrap on the right, predictably, is for marijuana, the other two for cocaine. Photo by the author

“Fifa standard” – these wraps feature Turano, the name of the favela where the drugs came from. The letters "C.V." stand for Comando Vermelho, one of the most powerful criminal organisations in Brazil, mainly involved in trafficking drugs and weapons. Photo by the author

These packages for cocaine and crack feature the name of Argentinian football legend Maradona and the logo of local TV show 'Pânico'. Also: horses. Photo by the author

A more modern layout with the logo for the Rio 2016 Olympics and a super buff and angry crocodile. Photo from a closed social media group

Cocaine and lolo (an inhalable drug made of chloroform and ether) with logos of Batman and Red Bull, and fake skunk. Photo from a closed social media group

A marijuana wrap with the emblem of Rio's Flamengo football club, Red Bull and Batman logos and the face of Samuel Rosa, frontman of Brazilian band Skank. Photo from a closed social media group

Comando Vermelho festively cashing in on the Rio Carnival. Photo from a closed social media group

The logos of Red Bull, Batman and Flamengo, which are common on drug packaging, along with the logo and mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo from a closed social media group

Donald Duck wearing the Botafogo football club attire. Photo from a closed social media group

A higher quality print of Mike Tyson – "the original blow". Photo from a closed social media group

A Christmasy Shrek holding two AK-47s. Photo from a closed social media group

The Hulk on a package from Comando Vermelho. Photo from a closed social media group

Popeye on a package from Comando Vermelho. Photo from a closed social media group