back to article Stolen iPad leads to 780lb crystal meth seizure

Silicon Valley police tracking down a stolen iPad have made a massive drug bust resulting from rank stupidity by the thieves. The Palo Alto policemen were tracking down a stolen iPad, using its GPS-based "Find My iPad" feature to determine its location. After tracing the filched fondleslab to an apartment building, they …


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  1. perlcat


    Looks like Jeff Rosen's dad knows the score.

  2. tkioz

    News at '11, Drug Dealers are morons.

  3. Arctic fox

    These are people who sample their own wares regularly...........

    .............and regard gunshot wounds and kneecappings as work-related injuries. They are not smart? See icon.

  4. kain preacher Silver badge

    Never get high off your own supply.

    1. Martin Huizing

      What's that? Taken from a workplace moral improving plaque in a meth lab?

      ~~Never Get High Off Your Own Supply~~

      Signed - Dopey (12 to life)

      1. tony2heads

        Never get high off your own supply

        quote from Scarface

    2. Smitty Werben Jueger Man Jenson

      Good to know...

      I'll make sure to get high off some other dealer's supply.

  5. kain preacher Silver badge

    I going to say that it was not there meth but just guarding. I could be wrong but if I'm not it would be more humane for the police to take them out back put one in there head . When the owner finds out he will not be so nice.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as my older brother told me once: people can spend so much time stealing that they will reach a point where they won't pay for their car's petrol even though they have enough to buy the station itself.

    so 'No', I am not surprised that someone with 35mil worth of drugs, will turn around and steal an iPad instead of buying one. Theft and wrong doing is too deep into their blood for them to bother to look at the value of an item vs what they will do to get!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oops we phucked up

    What would expect from a Meth Head?

    1. GuyC

      Re: Oops we phucked up

      Obviously also hooked on that dangerous drug "i" things

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    Once a crook......

    I recall a mate telling me about a plod from Merseyside who had won multiple awards for crime clearup.

    His crimebusting technique was to go around the local supermarkets and for each vehicle he found parked in a disabled bay without the appropriate badge, perform a check on it. This invariably netted the odd stolen vehicle, uninsured driver, owner with an outstanding warrant, stuff like that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Once a crook......

      As somebody who drives my disabled father around, on Merseyside, and continuously finds the disabled bays at the supermarket full of cars without a blue badge I say give that plod a medal and I hope more follow in his footsteps.

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: Once a crook......

      back in the 80s, a friends mum parked on teh zig-zags at school, picking her up. Local bobby gently tapped window, and asked her to move on. She argued, so he started to write her up for a parking ticket, only to discover she had no license, MOT or insurance.

    3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Once a crook......

      We had a case some years ago where a State Trooper driving down the highway saw a rental truck being driven by a guy wearing (back then) Walkman earphones. He pulled the truck over and was gently explaining why this was unsafe when, it being a warm summer's day, he noticed a sweetish, greenish, resinous-ish aroma coming from the box of the truck. Getting -- grudging -- permission from the driver, he opened the back of the truck to find it filled floor to ceiling with black trash bags full of recently-harvested marijuana.

      Lesson: If you're going to break the BIG laws, make sure that you always obey the LITTLE ones while you're doing so.

  9. h4rm0ny

    $35 million and can't afford an iPad?

    That's the Apple prices, for you!

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: $35 million and can't afford an iPad?

      It's more likely they just didn't want to give any money to Apple.

      1. Jimbo 6

        Re: didn't want to give any money to Apple

        I suppose even crystal meth manufacturers have *some* scruples about the sort of low-lives they want to do business with.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical American Idiot

    Dumb and Dumber !

    1. laird cummings

      Re: Typical American Idiot

      Typical bigot: Knee-jerking and annoying.

      1. sabba

        Re: Typical American Idiot

        Ooh, I am torn here. Do I up vote AC or LC?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They have $35 million, and they can't go out and buy an iPad?"

    What apple store takes crystal meth in payment?

    Shops that get caught usually aren't very organised. If they'd be organised everyone'd get paid regularly, and sampling the wares or petty theft would be punished by their own bosses, because indeed small problems aren't worth bringing down the entire operation for.

  12. bleh_meh
    IT Angle

    Really just because the plod found the ipad and then stumble on a big load of drugs it warrants (see that, I made a joke!) an article here????

    elReg == TheDailyMail

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      IT Angle

      The IT Angle was the stolen ipad and the tracking software that lead to its discovery.

    2. Microphage

      Crystal Meth and iPAD users

      @bleh_meh: Really just because the plod found the ipad and then stumble on a big load of drugs it warrants (see that, I made a joke!) an article here????

      It's so as the Reg can get Apple and crystal meth in the same headline. Once a long time ago Apple barred a Reg editor from Cupertino, and they've never forgotten it ...

  13. schafdog

    Cash flow issue

    Just like big business can have cash flow issue, I guess so can drug dealers. All the money was tied up in Meth. So just like big business (Enron, AA) steal from their pension fonds (only in the states), drug dealers sometime have to steal to get an iPad.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Press Release from the MPAA and RIAA

    We are very pleased that such a dangerous criminal gang has been caught. The damage to children that could have been caused had these drugs hit the streets is incalculable. In a joint investigation with the police we found that these drug dealers also had a number of illegally downloaded films and music on their personal computers and mobile phones. This proves conclusively the link between piracy and violent crime. Obviously these people started their life of crime by downloading movies and music which acted as a 'gateway' crime leading them into bigger harder crimes which ultimately led to a multi-million dollar drug operation. This is why we campaign so hard for the maximum penalties against illegal downloaders and we feel that damages of $1000 per download x number of people on the planet is a fair punishment because terrorists and drug dealers have all that money just lying around. Piracy is a terrible crime and must be stamped out before more of our nations children become exposed to drug pushers like this. If you don't support us in this fight then you are with the terrorists who want to destroy our nation. Terrorists grow drugs which they give to the pushers to process and sell. Do you want your children growing up and running a meth lab and being told what to do by terrorists? Do you? Be Patriotic, fight the pirates and keep our streets clean by preventing future drug dealers.

    1. Steve Ives

      Re: Press Release from the MPAA and RIAA

      Don't forget...

      "These people are almost certainly also child abusers, and stole the iPad so as to access the loving family photos on it which have been embedded with Apple's clandestine user-tracking software (aka GPS data). The drug-pushing, terrorist, movie-stealing paedophiles will then track down the children in the photographs and abduct them, to bring them back to their apartment and abuse and eat them whilst playing video-games and watching their pirated movies"

      1. sabba

        Re: Press Release from the MPAA and RIAA

        Damn! I can only up vote an item once

  15. ElNumbre

    There's an App for That..

    Is there anything an iFondleslab can't do*? Its such a superhero.

    *apart from its one weakness, Flash.

    1. jai

      Re: There's an App for That..

      Flash a-ah

      Savior of the Universe!!!

      which is a hard act to compete against, for any superhero...

    2. Armando 123

      Re: There's an App for That..

      Wait a just a ding-dong minute! When the Hades did Flash become a STRENGTH?!?!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: There's an App for That..

        "When did Flash become a strength?"

        About the time video sharing sites started to take off.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    theerty feeve meellion

    A bit of googling suggests street prices ranging from $40 to $80 (us west coast) and $80 to $120 (us east coast) per gram. But that's street, which you won't be getting if you're peddling wholesale. Even going up to an "eight ball (3.5 grams)" drops the price from $80 to $200/3.5=$57 per gram. And if you're talking kilogrammes, well... spotted a mention of $600 for 500 gram. Meaning, that $35 million dwindles to less than half a million wholesale. I'd say 354kg counts as "wholesale"; they're not going to go out and peddle it by the gram. If that $600 figure is realistic, then that makes the hyperbole factor in this reporting about... 35mio/(354*600/0.5) = 82.

    Now, we all know the truth will be somewhere in the middle and so you'd be looking at a bit more than half a million, but certainly a lot less than 35 million. At a guess, four or five million would be a reasonable assessment.

    Police forces that feel the need to inflate the money crime would be paying if not for the police, are a bit more self-serving than community-serving. In fact, consistently doing that has put a lot of regulation and pressuring on the financial industry to "police" their customers, en passant passing off the cost to said customers, of course, while delivering less service in the name of the law. Which is all for the common good of course, as crime and terrorism and whatnot else have to be fought like it was a full on war, for some reason.

    Personally, all the requirements to be part of the "white" economy are starting to irk me to the point that it is indeed becoming easier to no longer bother, even though what I do for a living is entirely above board, reportedly sought-after even. And that because we, and that includes Our Benevolent Politcian Overlords who then act on the information, are consistently supplied with misleading information about the cost and benefits of crime. Or terrorism. Or other things that "need to be fought".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: theerty feeve meellion

      It's a valid number stated (assuming it's based on the street value). It might not be worth $35m to the people who were busted, but across the supply chain, from that point to the end customer, it would indeed inject $35m to the criminal gangs... the fact that the supply chain spreads this across several levels of gangs and criminal organisations is besides the point.

      If 1000 iPads were stolen, would you expect the $$$ value on the theft to be calculated based on the production cost or the retail value? I think retail value is a lot more tangible to the average Joe than wholesale or prodution costs?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: theerty feeve meellion

        Uhm. So if a silo full of grain burns up or rots away or something, then that must be written off at a retail loss of croissants? Or maybe you'd like to see reports of annual production at foxconn expressed in units delivered to apple times apple's MSRP? That's just not realistic.

        Besides, in Capitalist America, how can anyone object to a bunch of enterprising freethinkers making a decent profit on sales? The only reason the stuff is so profitable is because it's made illegal. If not made illegal the crime element goes up in a puff of smoke.

        That leaves you with the problem of abuse and addicts, which can be dealt with more effectively in different ways, as demonstrated elsewhere. Thus, the "solution" of banning is part of the problem. And it is perpetuated, and causing collateral damage to non-criminals, by self-serving reporting like this. It shapes policy, which in turn shapes what is and is not criminal. The limits policy imposes on society can just as well perpetuate problems as they can make them go away. Inflating problems isn't helping society, and saying inflating is fine in the bigger picture is mixing up context, perhaps wilfully so, pour embrouiller les autres.

        You can read about people confused about street price reporting right in the article.

        1. Ross 7

          Re: theerty feeve meellion

          "So if a silo full of grain burns up or rots away or something, then that must be written off at a retail loss of croissants?"

          Uhm. Last I checked, croissants != grain (you need additional ingrediants). That's a terrible analogy.

          The $35mil figure isn't misleading in anyway - it may not be what the owners of the meth would have received for it, but it's hardly uncommon for there to be such a discrepancy.

          What an item is worth and what you choose to sell it for often aren't related. For example, if I steal a 65" Sony Bravia, brand new, boxed, and sell it out the back of the Dog and Duck will I get RRP* for it?

          These guys had $35m worth of meth, but selling it at that price involves more overheads, and more importantly more exposure. They therefore sell it wholesale for less. It doesn't make the article any less accurate than saying "Ross 7 stole £4k worth of tele" even though I couldn't hope to get that from the sale of it. To put it another way, if I got nicked and pleaded to the wig "But I only got £100 for it your honour" do you think I'll get done for nicking £4k worth of tele, or £100?...


          *yes , I know....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: theerty feeve meellion

            The crystal meth will likely be cut with additional /ingredients/, and repackaged, several times. Then there's transport and guarding, that sort of thing. It's closer than you hoped it would be, despite a bit of intentional hyperbole. Plus, who doesn't like croissants?

            Your analogies, however, consistently turn the world around. That meth is illegal, but likely not stolen (steal that much and you end up dead right quick), plus the demand structure is quite a lot different than for fenced petty theft loot. Stolen goods get fenced for less than new because of the added risk; otherwise your customer wouldn't mind buying legal. The damage is deprivation or replacement damage, roughly what the insurance would pay out to your victim. Here, you have a(n illegal) product where the risk and demand make the price go up, not down. As such, you fail basic economics.

            Arguing that drug dealing does petty theft damage because, you know, addicts need to steal to get the monies, is only indirectly true, and only half the picture. The proceeds also go back into the economy somehow; you can't just pick one side and "forget" to count the other, that'd be dishonest. And again, it's mixing up context. You don't praise a single apple store for the company's entire revenue either. So no, picking street prices when clearly wholesale is involved is not ok simply because the goods are illegal. It is misleading.

            Saying it's perfectly fine to mislead and fail economics and accounting because everyone else does the same stupid misleading thing is not ok either. It's not ok for you, it's not ok for everyone else. Mass stupidity isn't any less stupid. Just more massive.

    2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: theerty feeve meellion

      I remember the old Not The Nine A Clock News sketch- 'Police today seized 10lbs of heroin estimated at £250,000. Which shows that the police pay 10 times more for drugs than the rest of us"

  17. Gerard Krupa

    Did they find the iPad?

    OK so they knocked on a door in the right building and found some drugs, but I haven't seen any article that does more than imply that the dealers were also the iPad thieves. It's entirely possible that the police, having been lead to that apartment building, took the opportunity to pay a visit on some known felons and got lucky.

  18. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Stolen iPad leads to seizure

    and counselling surely?

    There! There...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High on their own supply when they invited the police in

    >Three people, who were presumably high on their own supply when they invited the police in, have since been arrested.

    If this were the case then they could not have given legal consent and the bust is invalid. It's happened before.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: High on their own supply when they invited the police in

      Not in this case. The DA will argue Inevitable discovery in that if they had of said no the cops would of just waited to get a warrant .Inevitable discovery is a doctrine in United States criminal procedure that allows evidence of a defendant's guilt that would otherwise be considered inadmissible under the exclusionary rule to be admitted into evidence in a trial.

      The doctrine was adopted first by the United States Supreme Court in Nix v. Williams in 1984. It holds that evidence obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights is admissible in court if it can be established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that normal police investigation would have inevitably led to the discovery of the evidence. The rationale for the rule is that police misconduct is sufficiently deterred and the interests of society are better served by putting police in the same position that they would have been in without the rights violation, not a worse position.

  20. Jop

    Missing the obvious

    >> What apple store takes crystal meth in payment?

    Will probably that the drug dealers didn't steal the iPad but one of their customers did and used it as payment for the goodies.

  21. Graham Bartlett

    $35 million but can't afford an iPad?

    Remember that the guys actually selling the stuff are rarely the ones taking the profits. Check out "Freakanomics" for the economics of drug-dealing.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: $35 million but can't afford an iPad?

      "Freakonomics"? No, just check out our own industry's major players. "The first hit is free" (90 day free trial software) but after you've used it for a while, you'll be locked in for life. Where do you think they got their business model from?

  22. LDS Silver badge

    When getting illegal goods is easy, people do

    Face it: for such guys getting a stolen iPad is easy as for anybody else getting a stolen music file or movie. And because it is easy, they do. Why people steal music and videos? Because now it is easy, it they would have to crack into a shop or threaten someone to get their illegal music or video they won't.

    But probably they would have bought an iPad after using the stolen one for a while...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When getting illegal goods is easy, people do

      It's no easier to steal music than it was some years ago. Video possibly a bit easier, DVD packaging tends to be a bit smaller than VHS tapes - but even a couple of decades ago stealing was generally shop-lifting rather than breaking in.

      Is it possible that you've got a bit confused over theft & copyright infringement?

  23. DeVino

    At last...a valid use for iPad

    "Did they find the iPad?"

    I suspect that the drugs bust distracted the police a little.

  24. Occams_Cat

    Did Charlie Sheen open the door?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That was an expensive iPad

    Alls well that ends well.

  26. Ef'd

    Well they did knock

    I guess the guys inside were expecting Heisenberg.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one...

    Am I the only one that's amazed the cops actually got off their asses and went to the address provided by the owner and his tracking software?

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: Am I the only one...

      It was on the way to the donut shop.

  28. MrZoolook

    Is drug busting copyrightable?

    I wonder how long till Apple try to copyright drug busting!

  29. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Breaking little laws.

    "Lesson: If you're going to break the BIG laws, make sure that you always obey the LITTLE ones while you're doing so"

    Peter Sutcliffe was caught because he used a stolen number plate on his van.

    He may well have gotten away with it, had he not used one from a number range assigned to HGVs and had he not had the misfortune to drive past the only policeman in the country who was a number plate Anorak.

    Mine's the one with the pad in the pocket showing the logical workings of how number plate thieves eventually go on to become serial killers while the rest of us just murder bowls of cereal.

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