The true story of how I went from being a former child actor, serial internet entrepreneur (selling my first startup at age 15 in a deal worth around $1.5M), finishing a master's degree in computer science from an ivy league university by the time I turned 21, to subsequently losing everything - becoming a large heroin dealer and severe addict by the time I was 23. I don't know how this will end, to be perfectly honest. I'm hoping it's a story of redemption in which I eventually get clean and sober, becoming healthy, happy, and successful.
This is a serial story with the first 4 chapters (linked below) completed thus far.
Chapter 1: https://steemit.com/fiction/@xmathemagician33/confessions-of-a-former-child-prodigy-turned-heroin-addict-ch-1-the-first-time
Chapter 2: https://steemit.com/fiction/@xmathemagician33/confessions-of-a-former-child-prodigy-turned-heroin-addict-ch-2-the-first-overdose
Chapter 3: https://steemit.com/heroin/@xmathemagician33/confessions-of-a-former-child-prodigy-turned-heroin-addict-ch-3-the-plug
Chapter 4: https://steemit.com/fiction/@xmathemagician33/confessions-of-a-former-child-prodigy-turned-heroin-addiction-ch-4-the-first-arrest
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4: The First Arrest
Partly because we had been carrying on our drug dealing at a level that was slowly, but steadily increasing each week, yet had never attracted the long arm of the law, I had not seriously considered the implications of having a felony drug charge for heroin or Oxycontin on my record. Not only would I surely do actual prison time, but the rest of my life would be forever and irreparably damaged. While I did grow up in a gang neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, I had managed to keep my record entirely clean – having never been arrested nor ever in any serious trouble of any kind. Not only that, but I had managed to finish a master's degree in what's usually considered a difficult field (computer science) from an Ivy League university by the time I turned 21.
After graduating, I had a couple of full-time options, having received offers from a handful of Wall Street/financial firms, a few tech companies, and a position within the federal government for which I'd have to pass a “background screen” and receive a security clearance before I'd be allowed to start. While I didn't pursue that particular opportunity, I'm nearly positive that a hair-based drug test would've been required, which I definitely would have failed. My intention was to work full-time on a tech startup of my own, the idea for which my partner and I came up with during an entrepreneurship class that we were both taking at the time. By that time, I had already successfully started (and later sold to a public company) two other tech startups, but those were companies that I had started while still in high school, operating them more or less on my own, out of my parents' basement. Having a partner who knew what he was doing in terms of the business, along with being a recent Wharton grad, allowed us to create a company that I would describe as significantly more “real” than the companies I had started in the past. Nonetheless, I did have a good amount of technical credibility, and that allowed us to raise a fair amount of investment, from both venture capital firms as well as angel investors. We then hired a small in-house team and used contractors whenever possible (who were often based overseas); also setting up shop in a small office provided to us by our lead investor, a small venture capital firm that often invested in the ideas of well-qualified students from our university.
My partner and I had essentially divided the company's main responsibilities – the business side and the tech side – between the two of us. I won't pretend that my drug use didn't have a negative effect on the company I was trying to run. Beyond that, my partner and I had an unwritten (maybe spoken of once) understanding in which I was given access to our company's liquid capital, with the understanding that anything I took out would be returned in 48 hours or less, with a significant return. Hey, we were a fledgling tech startup and had to cut costs at every possible turn. My partner certainly knew that drugs were involved when it came to withdrawing/depositing to/from the company's account, but I'm pretty sure he thought I was dealing in weed alone. Soon enough, I was making enough profit that I no longer needed to take money out of the business. I'm sure my partner noticed, though I'm not sure if he thought that was a good or bad thing. My phone rang, snapping me out of my daydream.
“What up, daddy-o,” I greeted Black.
“Ay, ay... I need to holla at the both of y'all... meet me at the laundromat in 20 minutes,” Black coughed slightly as he hung up the phone.
I could hear the anxiety in his voice, but had no idea what we were in for. The laundromat that Black asked us to meet him at was a standard, local hole-in-the-wall that Black had purchased several years ago to launder his money. The irony of using an actual laundromat to launder one's drug profits was not lost on me.
By this point, things had progressed a fair amount. It turned out that Black had access to cocaine as well, and was able to give Andy better prices than his alternative supplier. From then on, we were buying coke, heroin, and Oxycontin from Black/Jeff, with both of us handling the “store” in shifts. I suppose you could say that I was also selling a small amount of weed on the side – which neither Jeff nor Black cared about, except for the fact that having it around was convenient to smoke whenever desired. Pretty much any drug dealer can tell you that your profits with weed are basically limited to 50-100%. With drugs like Oxy and (especially) heroin, it's absolutely no problem to triple your money, even if you're dipping into your own product a little bit. Our standard pick up at that point was $7000 worth of product, every Saturday night. Black liked doing business at times when cops and others in the city were typically otherwise occupied.
Jeff schooled us a little bit and helped us get things up and running. With the amount of foot traffic that was being sent to us, there was simply no way we could continue serving out of our own residence. We got a small studio apartment that was close enough to our actual residence that we could run back and forth quickly, but not too close as to arouse suspicion. We hired two “runners” to handle the drugs and money for us, exiting the apartment from the fire escape every few minutes to meet customers and bring their money back to us. Because I still had a day job, the supervision was divided between Andy and I in shifts. While things started as each of us handling different drugs, by that point, we realized it made far more sense to just split the profits of everything down the middle. I know that some of Andy's customers complained about a drop in quality of his coke, but neither of us cared. We were moving far too much product to care. If someone was dissatisfied, we simply told them to go elsewhere and blocked their number. We didn't need the business. Jeff was sending us at least 20 customers a day, and I know we were only one of at least 5 trap houses that he had running coke and dope at least 12 hours a day.
Then somebody fucked up. It actually wasn't Jeff who fucked up, but he got blamed for it. Jeff had been occasionally working with a 3rd party dude named Marcus who had a compressor and stamp press for stamping waxpaper bags. I knew that Jeff had planned to stamp a few hundred bags and use the compressor to re-rock a couple bricks of coke that afternoon. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Marcus was already under surveillance, so Jeff was probably screwed as soon as he made the call to him. It turned out that Black did have his own stamp press, but it had been rented out to somebody in New Jersey at the time, and thus another was needed. There was no real reason for Black to have a compressor as he did not wholesale product. His operation was strictly buying wholesale, breaking/cutting it down, and reselling it in retail amounts. Jeff sort of went out on his own and tried to flip a couple bricks of coke.
After concluding their business, Jeff and Marcus pulled out of Marcus's house in separate cars. A few minutes went by, and Jeff eventually noticed an undercover cop following the two of them. At the next traffic light, Jeff turned to see if the cop would follow, and he did. Jeff then parked, went into a store, and was handcuffed there. Jeff had no drugs on him at the time, but enough paraphernalia and “manufacturing equipment” that he was hit with felony "intent to distribute" drug charges.
“Fuck man... What the fuck do we do now?” Andy asked.
“First, y'all need to get him out of jail. He got arraigned this morning. I'ma take you down to the bail bondsman to handle that. Bond him out for $25k and go pick him up. He's gon' tell you to take him home to see his girl and daughter first. You ain't finna take him home. Bring him to my crib and wait upstairs while I holler at him.”
Andy and I gave each other a look like, “Ok, what the fuck is this? He's not going to kill Jeff, right? RIGHT?!”
“Chill out y'all. He's my nephew. I might smack him up a little but ain't nobody finna really put hands on him or nothing. Relax. I'm gon' holler at him for a few minutes and then we all need to talk. We need to tighten up,” Black stated flatly, slightly quelling my fears.
Black exited the laundromat as we followed and piled into his Tahoe. We drove about half a mile to a plaza with a sign that read “Ernesto's Bail Bonds”.
“Sul, my man! How you been bro?! Long time!” A man I assumed to be the proprietor of this establishment said as he warmly greeted Black. I knew Black's real name was Rasul, but this was the first time I had heard anyone outside of his immediate family address him as such.
“How you livin', Ernie?” Black asked as he gave him a hug.
“So whatcha'll need?” Ernie asked, slightly raising his eyebrows. Black slid him a piece of paper with what I assumed to be Jeff's full name and some other identifying information. He typed the info into a computer terminal and waited a couple of seconds before saying, “Ok, we can get him out of holding right away, looks like bond was set at $25k...” As he explained, I set a stack of rubber banded bills on the counter and he gave me a clipboard with some paperwork to fill out. “Alright, fill that out and when you're done, my niece will take you over to where he's booked. Any questions?”
“Nah, I'm good,” I responded.
“You aight, Sul? Anything else I can do for you?”
“It's been a pleasure as always, Ernie,” Black responded courteously.
“Likewise brother, I'll see you next time,” Ernie said as he disappeared into the back of the shop.
Andy and I rode with Ernie's niece, Miranda, to bail Jeff out while Black returned to his house, where we'd be meeting him shortly. For what I guess are fairly obvious reasons, Black really did not like going to buildings such as jails, police stations, or prisons. We all jumped into Black's truck while he dropped the 3 of us off at my car, and we took off towards the jail.
“So who's this dude you're bailing out? Jeff is it?” Miranda asked Andy and I.
“Uh, you know, just a friend, doing a favor for a buddy,” Andy answered a little too quickly. Miranda was obviously not stupid and picked up on it.
“Yeah, Black has lots of 'friends',” she replied while loudly chewing her gum.
“The fuck do you mean by that?” I asked, staring daggers at her.
“Relax boys. My uncle's worked with him for decades. I'm a bail bondsman, I can put the pieces together.”
“Whatever,” Andy said bitterly. Andy and I silently looked at each other, not saying a word.
“Look it's cool,” Miranda said, “I didn't mean anything by it. Sorry I brought it up. We don't have to talk about it anymore.”
And we didn't. The thing was, Andy and I were terrified it was some kind of test and we were meant to keep our mouths shut. We rode in complete silence the rest of the way. When we arrived, Miranda took the lead as she had done this many times before. She spoke to the guards, handed the cashier the appropriate payment and paperwork, and then we waited for about 20 minutes while Jeff was brought out.
“Oh shit! What up y'all,” Jeff warmly said, smiling as he greeted us, “Mira, what up baby girl, you ain't had to come get a nigga but I do appreciate it.”
“Keep dreaming, Jeff. My uncle sent me down here. You ready to go?” She replied.
“Yeah, let's ride out, I been in this bitch too damn long.”
Jeff stretched his arms from side to side, swinging them in both directions, while exiting the double doors.
“I needa go see my baby moms man, she prolly trippin' like crazy,” Jeff began. Andy and I looked at each other.
“That ain't the plan though, Jeff. Miranda's getting a ride with her uncle in a minute and I gotta take you to see Black first. You know it ain't on me man, I'd take you home if I could,” I explained to him.
“Aight, aight, yeah, it's all good, I ain't said shit anyway. One of y'all got a bag or a pill though? I'm kinda sick and wanna get my sick off first, you feel me?”
I did feel him, and I also had three bags of dope in my wallet. I pulled over on a side street and took out a CD case from the center console of my car, while also pulling out the dope from my wallet. I poured all 3 out and cut the powder into lines as the 3 of us passed the CD case around. I figured that should be enough to at least take care of the sickness that Jeff was feeling. He had done the same for me many times, after all. We all felt a lot less nervous after that.
About 15 minutes later, we pulled up in front of Black's house and I parked near the curb, as usual. The three of us walked up on the porch and rang the doorbell. The tension was palpable, with Jeff clearly terrified of what might be waiting for him. The door opened, and for a few seconds, the two of them just stared at each other, not saying a word. Then Black broke into a smile and gave Jeff a hug. I breathed a sigh of relief as we all entered Black's house.
“Aight so y'all wait up here for a few minutes, I'ma holla at Jeff in the basement and then we all gon' talk. Ain't gon' be long, don't trip,” Black said as he hurried Jeff down the stairs.
“You was aight in there, right? With that thing I set up?” Black asked as they descended.
“Yeah, it wasn't no thing, Unc, you ain't gotta worry about me,” Jeff replied.
I had no idea what they were talking about, but obviously Black's organization had managed to procure some kind of favor with the jail guards and/or administration. Anybody who thinks that drug dealers from the hood don't know how to make excellent use of their resources are sorely mistaken. In fact, as I was about to find out, many of them were far more forward-thinking than I ever would have expected.
“Yo, you think it's cool if I crush this up and blow it real quick?” Andy asked, pulling out an OC80 from his pocket.
“No, put that shit away, we just got here and Black's family might be here, the last thing we want is them walking in on that shit,” I replied.
“Oh come on, we would have heard them,” Andy insisted, “I know you wanna top off with a little Oxy just like I do,” Andy taunted me. Regardless of what I said, he was going to do it, as evidenced by the fact that he had now removed a dollar bill and credit card from his wallet and was rapidly crushing the pill on the table in front of us.
“Fuck it, fine. Save me a line,” I said, resignedly giving in. I mean, if it's there, it's there.
Roughly 30 seconds after I finished the last line of Oxy and wiping his table off, Black emerged from the stairs leading to his basement, followed by Jeff. I was a tad bit nervous, having just snorted hard drugs, and quickly made sure to wipe my nostrils with my fingers. Even if I was a drug dealer, I didn't want to look so unprofessional that I'd have a nose with hard drugs caked all over it.
Jeff and Black entered the room, looking first at each other and grinning, then looking directly at me, and back to each other.
“Yeah,” Black said, “What'd I tell you? You know how smart this nigga is. You know how many degrees this motherfucker got, AND he got his own company making the goddamn software for phones? And what the fuck do we need? We need to tighten up so we ain't sending no bullshit they can read over our phones. I've read about this shit. They call it crypto-something-or-some-shit. I know you know what I'm talking about, Reese. Explain this shit for me.”
I did know what he was talking about. I knew exactly what he was talking about in fact, because it was an idea that had occurred to me. What Black wanted was an encrypted messaging system that would only run on phones that he would give to his dealers/network. With strong enough encryption, warrants would become useless as the data would appear scrambled.
“Yeah, I know what you're talking about man, you want an end-to-end encrypted messaging system for all the dealers, right? So nothing could ever be intercepted by wire taps or whatever?”
“Exactly,” Black affirmed.
“I can do it,” I began, “but it's a big job, you know, this ain't no small thing... And also, you gon' need to buy phones for everybody, so it's gon' end up costing,” I explained.
“You ain't gotta worry about the cost, bro,” Black said, “Security's important. Very important. I know that. I'ma break you off whatever you need for it, and once it's done we'll do whatever we got to so it gets into everybody's hands, nahmean?”
“Aight, word, I just want to make sure you know what you're getting into with this,” I replied.
“So what you think though, Reese? How long you need to get that working?” Black inquired.
“Well, as long as I don't gotta be running my shifts at the trap house, I can do it in a month,” I replied.
“That ain't no thing, young bull, Jeff gon' fill in for you, right Jeff?” I remember thinking that something about the way Black said that was odd. Almost like it was some sort of punishment for Jeff getting arrested, even though he really hadn't done anything wrong or careless to get himself caught. He was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Yeah, I got you, Reese, don't worry about it,” Jeff affirmed.
“Aight then. I'ma need you to get started on that Monday, Reese. Until then, don't say or text me shit besides 'need to meet' and then we can talk at the laundromat.”
We had our marching orders from Black. Up next - Ch. 5: Putting My Skill Set To Good Use