The International Reach of Organized Crime


Organized criminals have changed their modes of operations in the past decade and enlarged their reach making it very difficult for law enforcement agencies to catch them. New technologies and globalization has led to the revolution of how crimes are organized and carried out. Criminals no longer use the traditional hierarchical system, but apply networked structures that enable them to operate internationally. The borders between nations are not an obstacle, but an opportunity to reach their targets. These criminals are focusing on technology to control international communication and operations. Criminal gangs are now outsourcing their expertise to other parts of continents to prevent being easily caught and to ease their operations. Many upcoming terror groups operate either independently or in partnership with another terror group.


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This is an organized criminal gang led by Dawood Ibrahim, who was alleged to be an INTERPOL fugitive and the leader of D-Company. He is associated with bombing in Mumbai in 1993 and was given a sanction under U.N. Security Council. He is listed as a SDGT, and his group is one of the narcotics traffickers selling drugs in foreign countries. The group originated as a small smuggling group in the early 1970s, but by1990s the group changed its operations to become a terror group engaged in weapon smuggling. The organization of this group is based on hierarchical system, tough its members are wide spread in different countries of operations (Töttel, Bulanova-Hristova, & Kleemans, 2012). The organization focuses on period extortion, smuggling, trafficking of drugs, especially narcotics, and performing serial killings given to them through contracts. Their operational focus is also on human trafficking across borders, smuggling of arms, and laundering of money. The group is widely spread, but its major geographical operational base is in South Asia, especially in the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) region. The motive of the group is to get profits from its operations and support other groups to perform terror attacks in their territories. This group operates with other terror groups as seen in Mumbai bombing in 1993. Although their focus was not originally on terror activities, they evolved over time and got involved in activities.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

The FARC has been in operation since the early 1960s and believed to be amongst the oldest, biggest, the most brutal, and one of the best-equipped criminal organizations to ever exist in Latin America. The criminal group has been able to survive for such a long because of its role in the movement of drugs. Members of these criminal gangs are young men and women between the ages of 12 to 24 years. The methods of operations of this group are well known and they got involved in drug trade when they started levying fees for protection on cocaine bases and coca harvesters. The fees also applied to cocaine labs and buyers within their territory. This was in 1980s, and since then they have been increasing their operation territories. As time went by, they became actively involved in the drug production and trade and then went further to control its distribution. Now it is one of the biggest worlds’ cocaine suppliers. Other sources of revenue for this group are activities like extortion rumpus, ransoms from kidnapping famous people, and participation in illegal mining processes. Their major operations are in Colombia and Mexico, where there is intense abuse of drugs and human trafficking is widely spread. The money from drug trafficking gave the FARC enough money to invest in sophisticated weapons and technologically advanced communication devices that gave them the power to control over 405 of all drug trafficking operations in Latin America. Maritime piracy and their close association at the sea have linked them with terrorism activities as they supply terror groups with arms and drugs (Töttel, Bulanova-Hristova, & Kleemans, 2012).

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The Growth of Organized Crime because of Globalization

Changes in technology and emergence of globalization have changed the way many things operate, including the organized criminal activities. The end of communisms and introduction of free market economy in Russia revolutionized criminal activities. KGB soldiers were more than willing to provide their services to criminal organizations. KGB members that were sent to many countries to act as military agents trained in different special tactics and other languages soon turned out to be an anti-nuclear terrorist group (Daniele, 2011). By 1994, group members who were dissatisfied with the operations of KGB left the group and joined other private organizations. The private organization, which ex KGB soldiers serve in, are used to protect businesses in Russia. This spread to North America. KGB officials use the term "Krysha" to refer to a ‘roof’, which means protection given to particular people. Former KGB soldiers are the ones, who are involved in criminal protection and they are able to do this because they are in many offices, financial institutions, and any other business of their interest. Russian Organized Crime, commonly known as ROC, has taken advantage of the removal of trade barriers and widened transport networks to hide their operations in smuggling illicit goods in an out of states. KGB members have specialized in the use of cellular networks to make communications easier and faster. Presence of KGB members in financial institutions allows them to easily move money from one country to the other. This is why these members were recruited in banks and other financial institutions. The KGB takes advantage of areas with social disorders to cover up their operations that they conduct in these places (Proulx, 2011). Organized criminals are also adapting to changes in the market and are becoming entrepreneurs in their own fields. They are now changing from their traditional operations and are focusing on using technology of counterfeit goods, commit fraud and identity thefts operations. Organized criminals take advantage of open borders to get their drugs and goods past security officers by using containers of globally known shipment companies. The Internet, for example, gives time to organized criminals to engage in piracy of films and other products, especially with its availability anywhere in the globe and the readily available materials needed to commit piracy. International shipping has increased automobile theft because of the ease to access transport means to ship a stolen automobile. Presence of members in different parts of the world makes it easy for KGB to track down automobiles and arrange for its shipment. Later, a member picks it up at the other end and sells it.

The Partnership of Organized Crime and International Terror Groups

There are cases where terror groups and organized criminals collaborate by exchanging goods or drugs in exchange for protection or information. Al Qaeda has been linked to AQIM and AQI.62, which specializes in organized crimes. Al Qaeda’s senior members do not deal directly with the organized criminal groups, but their middle level and low-level members cooperate with the criminals. Al Qaeda trains and cooperates with senior members of organized criminal groups, especially the Haqqani and Taliban. These groups specialize in trafficking of drugs and people in the United States, and they give them access to the country and provide intelligence reports on what is going on. Terror groups are getting involved with criminal groups to raise funds to support their activities. FARC also has ties with Russia Militia groups who give them arms and missiles in exchange for cocaine. Russian Militia also provides FARC with helicopters and private jets to transport weapons and drugs to shipping sites where they camouflage the drugs and transport them to designated markets.

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Challenges Faced by Law Enforcement Officers

The connections created by association or partnership of criminal groups and terror groups enables them to develop a deep communication network that utilizes new technologies in communication. This creates a challenge  for law enforcement agencies to intervene because they become more tricky and slippery as they try to trace their whereabouts. This partnership means that organized criminals and terror groups have more money to invest and make their way through many markets without being detected. Law enforcement officers are challenged to invest more funds as they try to keep up with the sophisticated operational tactics used by these groups (Daniele, 2011). Organized criminals have close ties with the prominent political figures and in a way they control formation of laws and manipulate them to protect their interests. This makes it difficult for any law enforcement officer to counter their actions because they have connections with prominent people who oversee operations of law enforcers. The partnerships formed mean that there is an increased number of active members working for the groups. This makes the work of law enforcement officers even more difficult as they have to deal with a very large and complicated network of criminals and terrorists. The effects of globalization on the fight with criminal and terror activities are mainly negative, especially for law enforcement officers, because they may be looking for them in one country yet they are in a different country controlling their operations with the help of latest technology.

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