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**SHELDON**

Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism

The criminal activities of Transnational Organized Crime (TOC’s) groups around the world are not a new phenomenon. The conceptualization of these groups can be traced back to the early 1700’s where individuals known as pirates would raid other merchant vessels as they navigated their seaworthy vessels along established trade routes. These groups of pirates would seek to plunder and steal various types of goods from the legal vessels and then use those stolen goods to increase the prosperity of the individuals involved in the illegal activities (law.jrank.org). Organized crime syndicate groups continued to become established in various forms throughout the world such as mafias, militia groups, and gang affiliated groups established their presence and dominance by engaging in criminal activities that demonstrated clear and present threats to the civility of society. The establishment of these groups to develop transcontinental criminal capabilities through the creation of interconnected networks of criminal activities allows for a level of sophistication that requires law enforcement entities to be reliant upon one another to be able to appropriately respond to these criminal threats. This continues to be a burdensome endeavor for law enforcement entities as Transnational Organized Crime networks continue to adapt their techniques and tactics to continue to prosper from their illegal activities. Additional threats to societies at large have emerged as the TOC’s have demonstrated their willingness to be intermingled with groups who have espoused tactics of terrorism and display a blatant disregard for how their pursuit of prospering from their illegal activities have presented additional threats of considerable harm to many different communities around the world. 

TOC’s and Terrorism- The Global Threat 

 Acts of terrorism are classified in various ways and is dependent upon the motive of the individual or group who is attempting to express their ideological stance using terrorist related tactics. The basic understanding of terrorism is predicated upon the knowledge that these groups intend to instill fear in the conscience of individuals to further their agendas. Acts of terrorism are often employed to establish their credibility as group who should not be dismissed. These groups can range in size and complexity and their ability to have standing can be dependent upon their abilities to present their message. Terrorist groups who have been able to establish dominance as a threat are the groups that have demonstrated to be well organized and well-funded. Oftentimes these groups engage in illegal activities that allow them to obtain resources that help them formulate their criminal intent. The use of criminal activities such as drug trafficking, illegal acquisition and trading of firearms, and human trafficking, are just a few of the illegal activities that help these groups acquire resources (un.org). The linkage between TOC’s and different terrorism groups is not a far-fetched concept as both groups gain financial benefit from engaging in the activities described above. At minimum, both groups engage in these activities to profit form the proceeds of criminal activities. The scale and scope of their linkage cannot be overlooked. In the past, the activities of organized groups could be viewed relative to their regional impact. With the continued growth in globalization and international investments, the potential for the interconnectivity of these groups has become a reality. The convergence of these groups has risen steadily over the past 25 years with intelligence reporting indicating direct links between the criminal activities of some TOC’s and some terrorist groups (securityintelligence.com). The geographical boundary lines of various countries become quite permeable as public policies around the world continue to be developed that encourages free enterprise while also granting the opportunities for illegal entities to pursue the free exercise of their illegal activities. The result is the closing of the gaps in the world where previous opportunities were not as accessible as they appear to be at the present time.  

TOC’s and Terrorism- The Threat to the US

 The threats of terrorism are real for almost most of the world, yet there are some countries where the threat poses a higher degree of significance due to their standing within the world. The United States is among the countries with the greatest amount of concern for terrorist related activities. It is also a country where the existence of TOC’s has long been a concern for law enforcement officials Just as the connection between the groups was easily understood to be a global concern, it remains a critical concern for the defense of the homeland. The United States through its diplomatic pursuits through the United Nations has been able to successfully counter the activities that have deemed to be classified as state sponsored terrorism. Sanctioned actions against governments who provide harborage or resources for individuals who are involved in terrorist related activities have proven to be effective. What has become a growing concern for the US is the emergence of terrorist groups utilizing TOC middlemen to gain the resources necessary to operate (Novakoff, 2016).  Secondly, through establishing these links with organized crime groups within the US, their continued engagement of illegal activities that help to fund their organizations is also a threat as it exposes the increased vulnerabilities that the US strives to correct. The methods utilized to bring illegal products into the country such as drugs, counterfeit items, and other consumable goods are also exposing the vulnerability the US has regarding paths to smuggle items that could do harm to the public (UNODC.org). This continues to present a threat of extreme consequence for the United States. 

Conclusion

Transnational Organized Crime Groups have experienced a wide range of law enforcement actions that have resulted in some of those group’s networks becoming totally dismantled. As is common with other criminal elements, there never seems to be a shortage of individuals who are willing to step into any immediate void of activity that was created through this dismantling. It is also a concern for many that the threats posed to society are changing in that they also include illegal activities that help to provide resources for those who engage in acts of terrorism. This discussion board provided a quick assessment of the present concerns regarding Transnational Organized Crime groups and terrorism It gave a summary regarding the linkage between the two groups while explaining how these linkages pose a threat to society. Two sections were provided that explained the threat pertaining a specific target. First was the global threat then the threat to the US. The purpose is to present the reader with a summary of how these groups continue to be a present threat around the world.  

References

D’Alfanso, S. (2014). Why Organized Crime and Terror Groups Are Converging. SecurityIntelligence.com. https://securityintelligence.com/why-organized-crime-and-terror-groups-are-converging/

Law.jrank.org (2021). History of Organized Crime. https://law.jrank.org/pages/1624/Organized-CrimeHistory.html#:~:text=The%20pirates%20who%20plundered%20and,appearance%20in%20the%20Western%20world.

Novakoff, R. (2016). Transnational Organized Crime-An Insidious Threat to U.S. National Security Interests.https://cco.ndu.edu/Portals/96/Documents/prism/prism_5-4/Transnational%20Organized%20Crime.pdf

UNODC.org (2010). Regions Under Stress: When TOC’s Threaten Governments and Stability. https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/tocta/11.Regions_under_stress.pdf

UN.org (2020). Briefing Security Council on Linkages between Terrorism, Organized Crime, Executive Director Notes Greater Efforts Needed in Cross-Border Cooperation. https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14273.doc.htm