Crack Market: Why Can't Store Busted for Crack Sales Pay Penalties with Crack Profits?

Categories: Law & Order
Earlier this week, the city lowered the boom on Barah's Market, a place where C&H was less likely to refer to pure cane sugar than crack and heroin (purity uncertain).

Among other stipulations, the market at Turk and Leavenworth will have to pony up $30,000 in penalties to the city. Since it's easier to amass large amounts of money slinging crack than selling popsicles, this prompts a question: How can the city be certain the fine money it's due wasn't earned by pushing drugs?

Per the judgment in this case, the city can shut down Barah's if it violates the terms of several injunctions for the next several years hence. The market's owners are well aware of the plight of the nearby Razan Deli at 391 Ellis, which was forcibly shuttered for one year and mandated to surrender $80,000 in penalties to the city. This is impetus for Barah's to stay on the straight and narrow.

But if it still has money lying around from its crack-happy days, what then?

"Peanut butter and crack sandwich..."
City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said his office will have to "accept representations" from Barah's that the money it pays was earned honorably, selling booze and junk food to the denizens of the Tenderloin, and not narcotics.

Such a situation is not unusual in this and other cities. In order to owe the city fine money, one must be found guilty of some manner of wrongdoing. So a slumlord may well be paying fines with funds extracted from oppressed renters. Junkies, too, may be the original source of fine payments.

"We always rely upon representations," notes Dorsey. "We rely on representations ... that these are not illegally obtained funds."

And if those "representations" don't check out -- "It will have very serious consequences."

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My Voice Nation Help
Joe Eskenazi
Joe Eskenazi

 Not as such. If Barah's wants to continue in the crack-slingin' business, it does so at its own peril. But if it has amassed a stash of crack profits, it's difficult to prevent them from using it to pay penalties incured from slingin' crack. Best, JE

Reginald Stonebody
Reginald Stonebody

So you're saying we can still buy crack there it's just going to cost more? Sweet!

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