Attempts to decipher drug and drug-dealing culture by outsiders are doomed to sound hopelessly square. It's like "The Great Grunge Hoax of 1992," when the New York Times was duped into thinking kids actually said things like "Swingin' on the flippity-flop!" You have to take reports about drug dealer codes and hidden criminal symbols with a big grain of salt: someone might just be messing with you, dude.
That said, the list below is full of alleged drug dealer communication techniques, tricks, and signals drug dealers use. The sources are all police, anonymous dealers, or legit undercover reporters. Still, you might want to ask a savvy friend before swingin' on the flippity-flop and casually dropping these facts into conversation. This stuff is a secret for a reason, yo.
Unnecessarily Capitalizing 'T' on Grindr Means You Want Meth
Mic reports Grindr users have a subtle code for indicating meth needs/availability: needlessly capitalizing the letter “T.” Encountering a message such as “laTe nighT partying” doesn’t mean the gay ghost of EE Cummings wants to hook up with you, and it’s not a Bon Iver track. The big T is a sign a user wants to sell, share, or buy meth.
Grindr’s embarrassing cousins Scruff and Jack’d apparently also use the code, which is short for Tina: methamphetamine -> crystal meth -> Christina -> Tina. Former Who's the Boss? child star Danny Pintauro says meth is the boss on Grindr, where “one of every ten guys on there is either doing crystal, has done crystal, or wants to do crystal."
Some Dealers Use Proxies with Bluetooth Earpieces
Bluetooth earpieces aren’t just for Uber drivers and egomaniacs on the bus. The Atlantic reported in 2014 on a drug dealer named “Viktor” who raked in $32k/month with the help of his trusty Bluetooth. But Viktor wasn’t the one sporting the tech: when meeting new clients, he hired surrogates to make deals while wearing the earpiece. From miles away, Viktor told the surrogate exactly what to say and do, listening in on the exchange while safeguarding his privacy until forging a better client-dealer relationship.
The Right Instagram Hashtag Can Connect You To a Dealer
If you’re looking to buy weed and pills and thumb through the latest celebrity selfies, Instagram has you covered. Dealers use perfectly legal techniques to hide their identities and locations from prying eyes, enabling you to find their Insta-shops by searching for hashtags such as #xanaxforsale, #kush4sale, #OGKush, and many, many others.
Since online dealing is fraught with legal dangers, some dealers use the service as a glorified ad, hooking them up with real-life buyers in their area. Done correctly, app-based dealing offers massive exposure at little risk, as well as allowing savvy dealers to screen potential customers ahead of time.
Some Dealers Use Old Nokia 8210s
If you see someone in your neighborhood sporting an old Nokia 8210, they may just love retro tech or deeply miss the Snake Game, but there’s a good chance they’re dealing drugs, too, according to techdirt. Why the 8210? “Every dealer I know uses old phones, and the Nokia 8210 is the one everyone wants because of how small it is and how long the battery lasts,” one anonymous dealer told Vice.
Not only is the 8210 durable and cheap, it lasts an astounding 50 to 150 hours on standby mode. Most importantly, it doesn’t have WiFi, Bluetooth, or any other means of connectivity besides, obviously, its connection to cell towers.