Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Converging Threats in the 21st Century

Today, I was pleased to join my colleagues from throughout the Administration to announce the first U.S. strategy on transnational organized crime (TOC) in fifteen years. The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime provides a comprehensive plan that will, in part, help us build on our progress to further reduce drug use in the United States and disrupt drug trafficking and its facilitation of other transnational threats.

The days when major criminal groups specialized in one type of illicit activity or operated in a limited geographic area has ended. Criminal groups around the globe have become involved in drug trafficking, which generates over $320 billion in annual revenue, according to the United Nations, and diversify their illicit businesses.

The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime specifically highlights seven actions that we will be working to implement over the next year:

  • Work with international partners to reduce the global supply of and demand for illegal drugs and thereby deny funding to TOC networks.
  • Sever the links between the international illicit drug and arms trades, especially in strategic regions that are at risk of being destabilized by these interconnected threats.
  • Sustain pressure to disrupt Consolidated Priority Organization Targets, as they often have a particu¬larly corrupting influence or provide support to terrorism.
  • Maximize use of the Kingpin Act to pursue transnational drug organizations.
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to dismantle drug trafficking organizations with connections to terrorist organizations.
  • Work with international partners to shut down emerging drug transit routes and associated cor¬ruption in West Africa.
  • Coordinate with international partners to prevent synthetic drug production, trafficking, and pre¬cursor chemical diversion.

You can read the full strategy (pdf) and a fact sheet on the strategy (pdf).

We know that our response must include new tools and stronger international cooperation, but we also know that we must commit ourselves to reducing the use of illegal drugs here at home. That is why, just two weeks ago, ONDCP released the Administration's 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, which complements the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime by emphasizing community-based drug prevention, integration of drug treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organizations.

Additional resources:

R. Gil Kerlikowske is Director of National Drug Control Policy 

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