A Los Angeles Police Department document that has been marked as “sensitive” may have been sent mistakenly to an independent news operation in Los Angeles.

The document appears to show a breakdown of the wholesale and street value of illegal drugs in the Los Angeles area and was sent to L.A. Taco, an online news site that reports on the community and culture of the City of Angels.

How the document got into the hands of the independent journalists can apparently be explained by a simple email snafu.

According to L.A. Taco, a reporter reached out to the Police Department regarding a story about the price of street drugs and whether or not the LAPD accurately represented the value of illegal narcotics when announcing major busts.

Police departments across the country have long faced accusations that they artificially inflate the street value of drugs to make busts seem more impressive.

A 2012 article from Officer.com called the practice “Drug Math 101.” Police Departments will often make wholesale drug busts and report the street value prices, sometimes even adding additional dollars to the street value, the article alleges.

Meth burritos
LAPD released this photo of the alleged “meth burritos” recovered in February 2018. (LAPD)

The website, which is specifically catered to members of the law enforcement profession, wrote this on the subject of inflating drug prices:

“By envisioning thousands of transactions that will never occur — and sometimes padding the numbers on top of that — law-enforcement agencies can wind up doubling, tripling, quadrupling, quintupling, sextupling or even septupling what the confiscated drugs are worth to the bulk-level dealers who got popped,” the article reads.

When L.A. Taco reached out to LAPD Chief Michel Moore about the drug price estimates released to the public, Moore defended the Department’s accounting. He sent an emailed response to the news organization and CC’d several members of his staff.

Somewhere along the line, an assistant commander hit “reply all,” and attached the document in question — possibly unaware that the reporter was still a part of the email chain.

So that’s how L.A. Taco got a hold of the LAPD’s price list, which was provided by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program.

The document lists the price of a wide variety of illegal narcotics, including the price of a balloon of black tar heroin ($10), a gram of methamphetamine ($20) and .5 ounces of psilocybin magic mushrooms ($120).

A breakdown from L.A. Taco also showed that the LAPD’s own estimates for the price of meth can fluctuate dramatically and are often reported to be significantly higher than estimates from other law enforcement agencies.

KTLA reached out to the LAPD regarding the document in hopes of confirming its legitimacy and whether or not it was sent out by mistake. We were also interested in getting our own copy of the document if it was in fact meant to be sent and was cleared for media use.

After two weeks of no response, LAPD officials replied by email and said they would not be commenting.

To read the full article from L.A. Taco, click here.