Transnational Criminal Organizations

Institute for National Strategic Studies

Globalization has its downsides as well as its benefits, and the increasing interconnectedness of the global economy has also contributed to the growth of transnational networks of organized criminals. These organizations operate across state boundaries in order to achieve economic gain by illegal means, as in the case of drug cartels or human trafficking rings. Yet the dividing line between a transnational criminal organization and an international terrorist organization is not always clear. As governments grapple with the problem of violent non-state actors in a world in which sovereign states are no longer the principal players, the blurred distinction between criminal and terrorist organizations continues to have lasting legal and policy effects.

Latest in Transnational Criminal Organizations

Transnational Criminal Organizations

Transnational Organized Crime and National Security: Hezbollah, Hackers and Corruption

American law enforcement efforts have become increasingly multifaceted as the government attempts to combat the continuing ingenuity and sophistication of transnational organized criminal groups. Since the publication of the first post in this series, the U.S. government has announced several significant actions taken against transnational organized crime groups.

Federal Law Enforcement

Transnational Organized Crime and National Security

Traditional organized crime, ranging from the Italian-American mafia to street gangs, has long been a target of American law enforcement efforts. Unlike purely domestic organized crime, transnational organized crime, defined by the Justice Department as groups that pursue criminal activities across geographic boundaries, has profound national security implications.

Beyond the Border

Clearing Up Misconceptions on Cross-Border Migrant Smugglers: An Interview with Gabriella Sanchez

Since President Donald Trump took office on January 20th, unauthorized immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border have topped the national security agenda (at least until the chaos over General Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador knocked them off the front page). In his first days in office, Trump signed executive orders to build a full-length border wall and hire thousands of additional border patrol agents.

Donald Trump

New Executive Orders on Law Enforcement

President Trump today signed three new executive orders related to law enforcement activity: "Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking," "Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers," and "Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety." Links to the three orders are available below. We will provide analysis shortly.

Transnational Criminal Organizations

Throwback Thursday: Rewards and Bounties

On January 5, Dominic Ongwen, senior commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, was captured by Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR). Subsequently, the rebels transferred Ongwen to the US military, who has maintained a small force in the region since 2011 to assist in the hunt for the LRA’s commanders.

Transnational Criminal Organizations

US Intelligence Support to Mexico's Counter-Cartel Operations

This Washington Post article by Dana Priest is an excellent primer for those looking for an introduction to the particulars of US intelligence support to Mexico's counter-cartel activities, as well as the looming issue of whether Mexico's new president, Enrique Pena-Nieto, will pull back from this relationship.  Key nuggets in the article include:

A pithy itemization of the various forms that support h
Transnational Criminal Organizations

The Haqqani Network to Be Designated, at Last, as an FTO

The State Department has announced that it will, at long last, designate the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.  Apart from the rhetorical value of the designation, the main consequence is to attach to the Haqqani Network an array of liabilities under the headings of U.S.

Transnational Criminal Organizations

Civilian Criminal Jurisdiction Over Military Defendants: A New Day in Mexico?

One of the many difficulties that arise when a state employs its military to conduct operations within its own borders is the question of whether alleged abuses committed by the military should be tried in military tribunals or instead in the regular civilian courts. Mexico has been grappling with this issue for some time.  Generally speaking, the military criminal justice system has had exclusive jurisdiction over alleged abuses for some time, and in the eyes of critics this has been a recipe for impunity. There has been talk of reform for a few years now, however, and now comes a ruling from

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