Rob Ford surveillance slang: a language guide

Hezza, dugga, bodum, fam: the conversations released in the latest surveillance report are laced with drug lingo, street slang even the police do not decode. Here’s a rundown of some of the more curious language from the wiretaps.

What exactly is “the hezza”?

A photo from the police surveillance on Alexander "Sandro" Lisi spotlights, among other things, some colourful language

Hezza, dugga, bodum, fam: the conversations released in the latest surveillance report are laced with drug lingo and street slang the police do often not decode. Some of it is obvious (“ting” = thing), some of it less obvious ("hezza" does not appear often online).

Rob Ford is not in the wiretaps, and thus does not use any of this language. But much of it is used to reference the mayor and the ongoing crack tape controversy.

Muddling the wiretaps are the possible English translations by police from other languages — many of the people on the wiretap apparently spoke in Somali, Ford's lawyer Dennis Morris claims.

Using most of this language in the police reports is: Mohammed Siad, the broker of the video to media outlets;  Liban Siyad, arrested in the Project Traveller raids and also alleged holder of the Ford phone and perhaps the video; Abdullahi Harun, who allegedly supplied Ford with drugs.

Here is a conversation captured by police of Siad and another man texting:

Here’s a rundown of some of the more curious language that appears in the police reports:

Dro: In the wiretaps, Dro is an obvious nickname for Alexander “Sandro” Lisi. But Dro also references hydroponically grown marijuana, or plants that are grown indoors.  

Kush: This is a type of marijuana hailing from the Indica or Hindu Kush mountainous region of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. This strain of the drug is known to give a more relaxed, general body high. Other places in the police surveillance reports, a different strain of marijuana, sativa, is mentioned. This strain is known to give a more energized feeling. Example: After a gathering at 15 Windsor Road, Siyad tells someone over the phone he has “Rob Ford’s kush" from the previous night.

Hezza: Heroin, but could also refer to the last drags of a marijuana cigarette. Example: Harun tells Mohammed Siyad he has “so much pictures of Rob Ford doing the hezza” in one conversation in the reports.

Dugga: Can mean a variety of things, including marijuana. There is a possibility it is an Anglicized or misspelled Somali word “dagax,” meaning rocks or crack cocaine. Example: Harun tells Siyad “had Rob Ford smoking on the ‘dugga’”

GP: Game plan. Example: A text message abbreviation used by Dixon Road gang members as they strategized over what to do about the increasing press attention on the case.

E-Town: Edmonton, Alberta. Example: Mohammed Siad, the broker of the video, says over text message he is in E-Town. Although his location was thought to be in Toronto still. Hanad Mohamed, who was arrested in connection with the killing of Anthony Smith, was arrested north of Edmonton in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in May.

Gully: The nickname for Liban Siyad, one of the alleged masterminds behind the stolen phone and a mover of drugs, but also means brazen, unafraid of challenges and street savvy/tough.

Gotti: As David Price surmised in a phone conversation, this nickname references John Gotti, an infamous New York City mafia leader. Gotti in recent years has become a Scarface-like figure in rap music.

Fam: A term of endearment for friends; means family. Example: "Nuff said Famm."

Spliff: A marijuana cigarette.

Trap house or Trap: The trap is an area where drugs are allegedly sold, usually a neighbourhood or series of street corners. A trap house is a house where drugs allegedly are sold, grown or manufactured, or moved in and out of. In the surveillance, 15 Windsor Road is referred to as a trap house, though Ford emphatically denies that. Example: Police documents say Ford was “attending a ‘Trap House’ (crack house) at 15 Windsor Rd. in Toronto".

Smoking rocks: Crystallized crack rocks, usually the product of low grade cocaine and baking soda. Example: Siyad says Ford is "smoking his rocks today".

Police identify "Dro" Lisi in the Toronto Sun. Ford identifies Sun journalist Warmington as 'scribbler'. (Toronto Police)

Scribbler: Rob Ford calls Toronto Sun journalist Joe Warmington this old-timey term for writer or journalist.

Bloods: The Dixon Bloods, the name of the gang targeted in Project Traveller, are descendants of the Bloods, a Los Angeles gang formed in the early 1970s as a way to battle the prevailing street gang at the time, the Crips. The Bloods, at least the name, migrated east in 1993, and became a prison gang at Riker’s Island in New York. The initiation to become a Blood traditionally involves slashing someone with a razor blade or knife, typically during a robbery. Bloods wear red, and often wear team apparel from the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco 49s or Dallas Cowboys. Bloods often have the letters M.O.B. (Member of Bloods) or other identifying tattoos. There are rumours a New York City Blood founded of the Dixon Road gang in question in the early 2000s.

Goonies: Another name for the Dixon Road gang, Goonie is a nickname for a goon, or thug. There’s no apparent connection to the 1985 film Goonies.

A sample of the police summaries of conversations between alleged gang members (Toronto Police)

Halal meat: The term halal means foods that are lawful for Muslims to eat. Meat is halal under a specific set of conditions, namely the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim. Gang members say this to each other - it was notably said to Anthony Smith - as a death threat (“dead meat” is the police interpretation).

Bodum: Meant to refer to police, this is likely derived from Caribbean slang, according to “Them boys” is reference to nearby police, which is then pronounced “Dem Boys” and eventually reversed to “Boydem”.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.