Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Start at Home: Taking Shared Responsibility for Transnational Organized Crime

I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico, and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment... We are very mindful that the battle President Calderón is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle; it’s also ours. We have to take responsibility just as he’s taking responsibility.

—President Barack Obama speaking at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, March 3, 2011

We must begin our effort to disrupt TOC by looking inward and acknowledging the causes that emanate from within our own borders to fuel and empower TOC. The demand for illegal drugs within the United States fuels a significant share of the global drug trade, which is a primary funding source for TOC networks and a key source of revenue for some terrorist and insurgent networks. Any comprehensive strategy to defeat TOC must seek to reduce the demand for drugs and other illegal goods that finance TOC networks. The President’s National Drug Control Strategy emphasizes prevention, early intervention, treatment, and innovative criminal justice approaches to drive down drug use, and calls for continued support for the millions of Americans who are in recovery from addiction. Supported by a budget that increases resources for vital prevention and treatment programs, the National Drug Control Strategy seeks to reduce the size of the illegal drug market in the United States, depriving TOC networks of revenue while helping more of our citizens break the cycle of drug abuse and reducing the adverse consequences to our communities.

We must also stop the illicit flow from the United States of weapons and criminal proceeds that empower TOC networks. The Administration has placed an increased emphasis on stemming these outbound flows, dedicating additional law enforcement, investigative, and prosecution resources to targeting TOC, such as deploying additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection “outbound teams” to our borders, screening outbound rail and vehicle traffic for weapons and bulk currency, and by investing additional resources in the integrated Border Enforcement Security Task Forces along the U.S.-Mexico border to investigate the organizations involved in cross-border crimes. We will also work with Congress to seek ratification or accession to key multilateral instruments related to countering the illicit trafficking of weapons.

Further, we will work with our international partners to build their law enforcement capacities, strengthen their judicial institutions, and combat the corrosive threat of corruption, while also recognizing that the United States itself is not immune to public corruption. Continued vigilance is required to ensure the integrity of U.S. officials and institutions as we face the new and converging threats posed by TOC. In addition to the greater vigilance required by our governmental institutions, American businesses and individuals need to inform law enforcement about criminal activity and reduce their vulnerability to fraud schemes, intellectual property theft, and identity theft. Acknowledging our own challenges and aggressively addressing them here at home represent the first essential steps in building the cooperative multilateral approach required to defeat TOC.


  1. Reduce the demand for illicit drugs in the United States, thereby denying funding to illicit trafficking organizations.
  2. Continue to attack drug trafficking and distribution networks and their enabling means within the United States to reduce the availability of illicit drugs.
  3. Sever the illicit flow across U.S. borders of people, weapons, currency, and other illicit finance through investigations and prosecutions of key TOC leadership, as well as through the targeting of TOC networks’ enabling means and infrastructure.
  4. Identify and take action against corporate and governmental corruption within the United States.
  5. Work with Congress to secure ratification of the Inter American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials.
  6. Seek accession to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Project Deliverance: Targeting Mexican Drug Trafficking Networks in the United States

On June 9, 2010 the DEA-led interagency Special Operations Division executed a coordinated takedown in support of Project Deliverance, a 22-month multi-agency network of law enforcement investigations targeting the transportation infrastructure of Mexican transnational criminal organizations in the United States, especially along the Southwest border. During the final takedown, 429 arrests took place in 16 states through coordination among more than 3,000 Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers. In total, Project Deliverance has led to 2,266 arrests and the seizure of $154 million, 1,262 pounds of meth- amphetamine, 2.5 tons of cocaine, 1,410 pounds of heroin, 69 tons of marijuana, 501 weapons, and 527 vehicles during the entire course of the operation.