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Why do criminal gangs target young teenagers to participate in their gang activities?

Criminal gangs make money from the sale of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. To keep their trade flourishing they need to make sure that these drugs remain in demand and are available to those who want to use them.

Once a cargo of drugs arrives, the gangsters need ‘sales agents’ —those who will pick up small packages from the middlemen and deliver them to drug consumers. Since the older gangsters do not want to be caught by police while delivering drugs, they target teenage youth, most of whom do not have any history of criminal involvement.

If caught by the police, the amount of drugs in their possession is generally minimal and therefore any criminal conviction may result in a more lenient sentence and possibly no jail time. In B.C., criminal gangs are known to recruit young men around the age of 16 who have their driver’s license. Like typical teenagers, the youth are open to adventure and are willing to try out new and dangerous ways of living. The lure of making quick money on the side can be very tempting for this age group. Also, the risk may not seem huge given that all they need to do is pick up a small package and deliver it to a designated location.

Persuading a youth to take that first step of accepting and delivering a drug package is the beginning of a dangerous path that leads to gang involvement.

The First Step into Criminal Gangs: It begins with the Dial-a-Dope stage.

A Dial-a-Doper is an individual who delivers drugs to specific locations day or night.

A Dial-a-Doper is typically a teenager or young adult who has access to a vehicle.

It works very much like a pizza delivery service. The youth gets at least one cell phone from the gangster group. The customers– who need drugs–simply dial a phone number. The youth answers that call, and then runs a ‘quick errand’ in his or her car to deliver the drugs to the address or location provided.

The drugs are usually delivered within a half an hour to one hour of the call made to the Dial-a-Doper. Customers/drug users are provided with a phone number for them to call to order drugs.

The First Step into Criminal Gangs:

It begins with the Dial-a-Dope stage. People who are at the top of the gangs are usually older. Their main job is to coordinate the transportation of drugs and weapons, the distribution of money, and to contract people to maintain the import, export, buying, and selling of drugs. Additionally, they also hire people for extortions and kidnapping to force repayment of debts from lower level gang members, including the young Dial-a-Dopers.

This is where entry into gang life begins for most youth Street-Level Dail-a-Dopers Youth Protection Zone Reload Centres Operations Leadership Finance Reloader Reloader Reloader Transport Drug Distribution Gang Leader Parents and community can keep youth in this zone.

Reloaders are individuals who supply the drugs to the Dial-a-Dopers. Depending on the amount of activity in Dial-a-Doping, a drug line run by a reloader can bring in as much as $1500 per day. Reloaders often supply drugs from a safe house.

Safe houses are typically rented by individuals who are paid a nominal fee to do so in their own names or even family members who are likely unaware of what is happening in the house. The premises are usually empty and nothing in the location ties any gang-involved individual to it.

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