Global Elimination Of Drug Trafficking And Terrorism With US As Its Leader Capstone Project

Length: 12 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Sports - Drugs Type: Capstone Project Paper: #15638670 Related Topics: Psychotropic Drugs, Drug Cartel, Irish Republican Army, Methadone
Excerpt from Capstone Project :

Solution to Stop Drug Trafficking and Terrorism in the United States and Abroad

Drug trafficking and terrorism in the U.S. And abroad

Simply put, illegal drugs appear to be one of, if not the most lucrative sources of funds for terrorist activities. Mainstream media, scholars, policymakers, and even the general public commonly believe that terrorist activity is funded by global sales and/or trade in illegal drugs. It has been suggested that terrorist groups use the funds generated from the lucrative drug trade for bribery, communication networks, safe houses, and weapons purchases (DEA, 2014). Furthermore, if true, these funds from sale of illicit drugs also enable planning and execution of even more attacks. Advantages of the illicit drug market to terrorists might include ease of entry into the drug trade, minimal infrastructure investment needed, and insignificant transportation costs relative to immense profit (Ballentine 2003; Cornell 2005). Other factors may include the fact that increased monitoring of terrorist groups following the 9/11 terrorist event in the United States has removed many of their former support systems, inducing a shift towards income that is less easy to trace (Dolar and Shughart 2007; Lipitz 2007; Ortiz 2002; Sanderson 2004). While once some terrorist groups were actually 'state-sponsored', the presence of such sponsorship has begun to seriously decline, increasing the need for these groups to generate other revenues.

This paper examines the inter-relationship between terrorism and the illicit drugs. In particular, a correlation is made between artificially inflated drug prices (perhaps even caused by the very interdictment that is intended to stem the flow of drugs) and enhanced terrorism activities. Indeed, if such a correlation is valid, it is only logical that efforts directed towards minimizing the illicit drug market will concomitantly decrease terrorism by cutting off their most lucrative source of funding (Piazza, 2011).

Drugs, Counter Narcotics Policies and Terrorism

In certain countries, there is a 'vicious cycle' between a destabilized government, the illicit drug trade, and terrorists taking advantage of both (Piazza, 2011). It consistently appears that the more the governments are destabilized the more that both drug trade and terrorist activities are enhanced (Kleiman 2004). The list of terrorists believed to be involved in the illegal drug trade is large, and includes many countries around the globe. These include: Hezbollah; the Filipino Abu Sayyaf movement; the Indian separatist United Liberation Front of Assam; IS or ISIL/ISIL, presently in Iran and Syria; the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK); the Peruvian Sendero Luminoso; Protestant para-military organizations in Northern Ireland; the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC; the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) dissidents in Northern Ireland; and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Baruah 1994; Bibes 2001; Filler 2002; Makarenko 2004; Roth and Sever 2007; West 2014).

For FARC alone, it has been estimated that as much as 50% of their operational base funds are derived from cocaine trafficking and coca production (Rangel 1998). This example relates to the link between the illegal drug trade and the terrorist activity within one country; however, it is also the case that funds derived from the drug trade may have a trans-national effect on terrorism. Drug trafficking and production in one country may finance terrorism not only locally, aka domestic terrorism, but also terrorism at a considerable remove within a given continent or even internationally (Piazza, 2011).

One aspect of counter-terrorism policy is based upon the presumption of a connection between terrorism and the illegal drug trade. 'Fighting terrorism' has increasingly become a rationale for policies that are counter-narcotics by the United Nations via its Office for Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) as well as within Western Europe and the United States (Felbab-Brown 2009). Some of the 'terrorist hot spots' in Latin America, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia are, in particular, the focus of anti-terrorism activities. In the fight against terrorism, interdictment of cocaine, heroin, and opium shipments is being consistently used, as well as attempts to eradicate both coca and poppy crops. Such actions in the Philippines, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, while controversial, are based upon methods used during the 1980s in Columbia as part of the successful strategy used against the Medellin illicit drug cartel (Kenney (2003). Thus, successful methods for stemming narcotics have become a routine part of policy and methodology against terrorism, based on recognition of the unfortunate symbiosis between the two.

There are two separate issues here: the international drug trade, and terrorist activity. However, by showing that they are linked, it is possible also to consider means by which attacking, diminishing or eliminating one issue may have a


Kleiman (2004) describes the relationship between the two as 'cash' and 'chaos'. First, there is unquestionably a large illegal profit from the sale of illicit drugs; as well, this presupposes a large market for such drugs. In addition to direct sales, 'taxes' placed on each of the various steps in the drug 'pipeline' of traffickers, refiners, drug storage 'houses', intermediaries and drug cultivators produce additional income streams. This rich cash source is now the income for terrorists, who use their profits to launch even more terrorist attacks (Peters 2009). Based on this idea that drugs equal cash, and cash equals increased terrorism, approaches to decrease terrorism have begun to specifically focus on the drug aspect. Steps involved have included destruction of drug crops, destruction of drug production sites, and interdiction of drug products to stop the cash flow; this is now common counter-terrorism policy for many countries (Biersteker and Eckert 2007; Kleiman 2004; Steinitz 2002; Winer and Roule, 2002).

Kleiman (2004) also describes 'chaos' with respect to drugs and terrorism: in this example the drug market results in unstable governments, deterioration of the security of a country, and a loss of civil order. Once this happens, an increase in terrorism continues to occur, while the drug market concomitantly expands, bringing about more chaos and again increasing both drug markets and terrorism activities. The chaos argument is perhaps slightly more complex than the 'cash' argument and is used less frequently by media and/or policy makers; however studies have shown that there are correlations between weak political entities and both strong terrorism and strong drug markets (Lai 2007; Piazza, 2011).

In general, it appears that it is consumer demand for illicit drugs, especially the opiates, which results in an inelastic price, meaning that consumers will buy no matter what the cost.

While there may be a few variations, on the whole those who purchase illegal drugs for themselves want the drugs regardless of cost. Furthermore, they will not accept a substitute or a less expensive product, even with price hikes; this is most likely a correlate of addiction and concomitant addictive behavior. This behavior includes as well the need for a regularly scheduled and/or steady stream of purchases whenever possible. Inelastic drug prices are to the benefit of the seller and the terrorist, while negative for the consumer, who must now raise the funds for his/her drugs. If the buyer has a limited or fixed income, higher drug prices may result in higher domestic crime to pay for the illicit drugs. Higher drug prices bring more funds and profits to the sellers, the terrorists, and increased drug revenues lead to a more active terrorist force (Godwin 1983; Wagstaff and Maynard 1988). Every price increase provides the terrorists with more revenue, so that terrorists who are involved in drug trafficking can be more active; higher drug prices would seem to correlate with increased terrorist attacks.

While there have been no detailed empirical studies on terrorist groups and drug revenues, it is known that in the case of Mexican drug trafficking gangs, decreasing drug profits decreases the extent of violence (Kilmer et al. 2010). While it is obvious that an increase in drug crops will lead to an increase in drug production and an increase in drug sales, it should also be the case that more crops are associated with lower prices, and potentially a decrease in profits. This may be a fine line between how much crop can be produced without resulting in a drastically lowered price and profit. Regardless, it appears that in each case the terrorists only make more money and engage in more terrorist activities (Piazza, 2011).

A General Approach to the Concept of Organized Crime

According to Flores (2007), organized crime can be viewed from at least three orientations: [1] that of the illegal enterprise and the multiple layers involved; [2] that of the client, who may be limited in whom he can deal with; and [3] that of the interrelationship between the two. Criminal organizations are said to operate from a tripod of 'obstruction of justice, violence, and corruption', where violence is a means of control, and both obstruction of justice and corruption are used for expansion, (Herran et al., 2007). Unfortunately, in the case of Mexico, the known corruption has led to a distrust of the rule of law among the populace (Otero, 2011). Crime is no longer a local or even regional matter,…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bagley, B. (2012). Drug Trafficking And Organized Crime In The Americas. Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Ballentine, K. (2003). Beyond greed and grievance: reconsidering the economic dynamics of armed conflict. In K. Ballentine & J. Sherman (Eds.), The political economy of armed conflict (pp. 159-186). Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

Baruah, S. (1994). The state and separatist militancy in Assam: winning a Battle and losing the war. Asian Survey, 34(10), 863-877

Bibes, P. (2001). Transnational organized crime and terrorism: Colombia, a case study. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 17(3), 243-258
IRS (2014) Accessed 20 Dec 2014
Steinitz, M.S. (2002). The terrorism drug connection in Latin America's Andean region. In Policy papers on the Americas (vol. XIII, study 5), Center for Strategic and International Studies, http://www. Accessed 21 Dec 2014.
West, A.B. (2014) / accessed 20 Dec 2014

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