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.
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.
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.
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