David Borden, Executive Director
An FBI spokesperson told the press, "This significant seizure prevented these drugs from entering our community." But doesn't that depend on how one defines the term "these drugs"? If the term is meant to refer to that particular shipment, then yes, that specific pile of cocaine will (probably) not enter the Philadelphia community.
If, however, the term is meant to refer to cocaine itself, the type of drug, it's doubtful -- no, impossible -- that the seizure could reduce the amount of it in Philadelphia, at least not for very long. The problem is that drug traffickers are clever and industrious people, and they expect that some of the stuff that they ship to any given region is going to get intercepted. On any given day, they probably don't expect a record to get set, on that particular day. But that doesn't mean they aren't prepared if it does. Doubtless one or more batches are now moving up I-95 or some other artery, or are headed to Philly through some other means of transport, if they're not already there.
The truth is that there probably won't be a shortage of cocaine in Philadelphia for even a week, if there is any shortage of it even now. By the end of two weeks, there will be little evidence left at all that a record-sized drug bust ever occurred, other than the police records and the past media reports. Of course the authorities won't be particularly eager to inform the press that their record-sized drug bust has been completely undone by the force of the market. Ironically, media would probably not consider the lack of long-term impact from the bust to be newsworthy, because that's literally what has happened on every previous occasion.
Ultimately, the bust itself is the best proof that the bust won't make any difference. Arrests and seizures and prosecutions for drugs are the norm for the United States, in Philadelphia and everywhere else. Yet for all that effort, sustained and conducted aggressively for decades, the demand for cocaine is still so strong that the quantities in which it is found continue to set records. And that is a record of failure by any reasonable definition of the word.
So while I'm sure the press conference was exciting for the people involved in it, I'm not excited, and I don't see why I should be. When people decide that it's time to try something different, because they realize how much they've been throwing away in money and manpower and lives, that will be much more exciting than a pile of powder and a group of law enforcement brass behind a podium ever could be.