Summer is properly over. It's dark when you get up and dark when you get home; the John Lewis Christmas ad is being premiered this week; and all the summer music festivals have released their round-up mini-movies to make us all feel a bit shit about our lives, bringing back memories of smiling and sweating quite a lot on a boat party somewhere off the Adriatic Coast.
It's those videos and the chemically-contorted faces people are pulling in them that got me thinking about the guys (and it is pretty much exclusively guys) who provide overseas festivals with drugs. More often than not, they're British, meaning there's every chance they've smuggled a lot of very illegal narcotics across Europe. Considering that dealing drugs, by all accounts, is a stressful, time-consuming endeavour, I don't really get the attraction in subjecting yourself to it in a foreign country when you could instead just be enjoying yourself at a festival.
To work out these dealers' motivations, I got in touch with one of them – a guy in his mid-twenties who we'll call Adrian, because obviously we can't publish his real name – and went to meet him for a chat in his home town of Birmingham. Below are his thoughts, edited for length and clarity.
The first time I ever went to Croatia, it was for the party. I always bring drugs with me everywhere I go anyway, so I had stuff for my mates and me. This was in 2010. When I got out there, I realised there were literally no drugs. People were going crazy, clawing at me, paying silly money. I'd sell a gram of MD I'd bought for £15 for £100. That's when I thought, 'Okay, I can make a lot of money out of this.'
First few years, I didn't deal professionally. I'd sell to mates, but people kept asking me and I felt bad. I felt noble, bringing drugs out. Everyone just wants to have a good time. It doesn't matter what class you are, what education you have – everyone does drugs.
I started dealing professionally three years ago. I'm available for six hours a day, and I'll text people and tell them times and where I'll be. I have a different hotline for each festival, but I never deal in the festival site. When it starts to get dark I put my phone on silent and get fucked up and enjoy the party. I'm not like those dealers who are only about making money. There are some dealers who go out there and make millions.
I limit how many people I deal to. I keep it to bulk orders and see four or five people a day. A bulk order would be about 40 pills, at £20 a pill. I don't do discounts. I never bother with people who order one or two pills – unless it's a cute girl.
Word spreads quickly at a festival, which is good and bad. It means people want to buy your stuff, but you end up on the police radar. You get these idiots shouting your name at a party, waving their arms around, saying they bought their drugs from you.
It's always the pretty girls who'll flutter their eyelashes and rip you off. I check the money with those girls. If a girl thinks she can get free stuff for nothing, she's wrong. But if she wants to sleep with you for coke, that's cool. I'll share a gram with her. I always have a different festival girlfriend. It's not like she's only getting drugs out of it, anyway.
Italians and Spanish are the worst people to deal to. They don't want to pay for anything; they ask loads of questions; they mug you off. I don't bother dealing to them unless they can prove they're sound. My favourite people have experience with drugs. Posh kids are good, because they're sensible. Or gay guys are on point, because they've done loads of drugs and know the score.
You get the idiots. People who've bought pills and called me up, shouting, "This stuff doesn't work!" I go back to give their money back, and they're off their heads, like, "We love you man." Or the people who buy ket, but complain when they get it. They're spinning out; they're like, "What the fuck did you give me?" I tell them, "This is the best ket you can get, it's direct from India."
It's the Wild West out there. This is Croatia; it's not like England. Croatians don't fuck about. There was a war out there in the 90s and guns are common. Everything runs on money. It doesn't matter whether you're a police officer or the mafia; it's all the same. The police are the biggest mafia.
The police know who the dealers are. They'll wait to arrest you until you have a lot of stuff on you, and extort you for money. They'll catch festival-goers, too. They use pretty girls as bait – they offer the guy a spliff, and if he accepts the police will fine him £300. You need to watch out for the undercover officers out there. Never buy drugs from Croatians you don't know.
You've got to be smart if you don't want to get caught. Don't be an idiot. Sometimes you have to watch out for the other dealers, too. Mostly it's fine as long as you don't try to dominate the market. But I've had friends who've had their stashes raided by other dealers who sell their drugs on.
I got caught once. It was my fault – I was off my head. I'd been up for three days, was high on coke, drunk, done a couple of pills. I should have stashed my stuff, but went to meet a girl instead. I got away with a huge fine. You know how in the UK the police don't check in your boxers? Well, they do in Croatia.
When you have good drugs, you get access to all sorts of places. I ended up getting in with the mafia, and it was good at first. I became friends with this guy, and we'd enjoy good food, good drugs, go nice places. Then he introduced me to his friends and it got serious. They started to ask a lot of questions – it made me paranoid. When you see people with guns, mad things, you think, 'Okay, I don't want to be involved in this.' It's too much.
You can normally pay security off. I was the only person dealing on this boat party once; I made silly money – about £2,500. Then I met this girl. I got fucked and a bit silly. She gave me ket and the security guard clocked it.
I had all this money, so I shoved it down my pants, under my balls. I went to get a drink from the bar back at the shore, and that's when the security guards grabbed me. I tried to leg it, but they searched me. My dick's not that big, so you could really see the money bulging out. I pleaded with them and eventually they gave me a wad of cash back and kept the rest. The same guard let me back into the festival the next day. He was laughing as he let me in.
If I could give the next generation of dealers one piece of advice, it would be don't do ket on the job. I love ket, but you can't do it while you're working.
For example, this one time, I'd been working a whole festival, and to celebrate I did a fat spoon of K. It must have been two or three grams I sniffed in one go. Later, I went back to my apartment, and I'd forgotten I'd meant to check out. It was a drugs den in there, and the landlady had gone in to move all our stuff out. And she'd cleared me out, stolen all my money, even my amethyst crystals. But I couldn't say anything because she hadn't called the police. She took a couple of grand.
The highlight of my drug-dealing career is falling in love multiple times with different girls from different places. But, if you like a girl, you shouldn't give her free drugs. You want to be sure she's with you for you, not the drugs.
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