White House Announces Transnational Organized Crime Strategy

By Carlton Purvis

The Camorra is a very large Italian organized crime group earning roughly $25 billion each year from illicit activities. It operates internationally and engages in serious criminal activity such as counterfeiting, smuggling pirated goods, and drug trafficking.

The Yakuza of Japan, have an estimated 80,000 members. It engages in serious criminal activities, including drug, weapons, and human trafficking. The Yakuza uses front companies in construction, real estate, and finance to hide illicit proceeds (See "Eastern Inscrutability" in the May 2007 issue of Security Management).

Los Zetas, is an extremely violent transnational criminal organization based in Mexico. It transports large amounts of drugs through Mexico into the United States. Its members are responsible for murders in Mexico and the United States, including murders of U.S. law enforcement officers.

The Department of Homeland security’s part in the White House plan involves increased production and sharing of intelligence produced by fusion centers and a broadened approach to organized crime that doesn’t just target one aspect like drug trafficking, for example, but all aspects including weapons, corruption, and finances. The plan would also make unclassified information available to private sector partners to help raise awareness of organized crime. It also calls for agencies to identify foreign thieves with ties to organized crime.

The State Department also has a role. It will provide assets to enhance the ability of foreign governments to fight organized crime. And a new proclamation under the Immigration and Nationality Act will deny visas to corrupt foreign officials and TOC affiliated people. The agency has also implemented a program that will provide cash rewards for information leading to organized crime arrests or convictions. The administration said finances are a focus because it’s a vulnerable area for organized crime groups.

“Transnational criminal organizations are principally motivated by financial gain,” Cohen said. “That is a major vulnerability that the new executive order – and the broader Strategy – will allow us to exploit, striking at the heart of their economic power. “

photo from The Whitehouse photostream on flickr



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