Research Paper: Mexico: Terrorism and Organized Crime

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[. . .] This is the means through which terrorist groups such as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Al Qaeda and Lebanese used money from drug trade to expand their political agendas, the previous Taliban regime directly taxed and attained financial gains from Afghanistan's extensive opium trade. According a reported filed in 2000; approximately 80% of the Taliban's financial resources were as a result of tariffs on heroin and opium. The current insurgency of Taliban is supported through exhortation from opium trade. This drug trade also finances a considerable part of the Syrian and Lebanon economy (Annes 104).

The terrorists groups may be engaged in all facets of drug trade, from cultivation, production, transportation and distribution to laundering the profits from this trade. The profits generated from the drug trade offers terrorist group a degree of flexibility, relative freedom from scrutiny and autonomy. Frank Cilluffo, Director of Counterterrorism Task Force, in George Washing University asserted that whether the terrorists cultivate and traffic narcotics or impose taxes, the financial windfall guaranteed by the narcotics fills the gap left by state supporters. Terrorist groups also view drugs as a weapon system that helps them in weakening their enemies. Not only do proceeds from drug pay for terrorist activities, the increased profits from this trade get into the systems of banking and the major economic arteries of the target states through money laundering. Money laundering is a scandalous crime, normally disguised from the public. It entails illegitimate achievement of large amounts of money in ways that makes it appear as if the money is legal or originates from justifiable sources (Hopton 157). Money laundering entails a vigilant activity that if consummated makes to criminals achieve their illegal activities such as funding terrorism.

According to Innes, money laundering instigates a rise in stern crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking (p.104). Innes further states that drugs reach their target destinations where they corrupt and kill. In a proof before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Security and terrorism of the Committee on Judiciary, Alvaro Jose Baldizon noted that drug trafficking damages and corrupts young people in America with the aim of weakening and harming future generations (Innes 104). Drug trafficking also helps in funding liberation movements while the cocaine distribution network facilitates trafficking of weapons brought through the black market. This is perhaps what Osama bin Laden utilized when he supported the use of narcotics trafficking to weaken Western societies through supplying them with addictive drugs. In final analysis, terrorism and drugs regularly share common components of money, geography and violence. Besides narcotics trade, terrorist groups also engages in other crimes such as human trafficking and fraud. For instance, LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) amassed huge payoffs from human smuggling mostly to the European states.

Possible Scenarios in Mexico

According to McCollum, an author, an alarming trend has been the increasing cooperation between elements of the Russian mafia and FARC. The Columbian drug cartels had established a link with the Russian mafia since early 1990s (p.31). The Russian mafia augmented their trade deals with FARC, and the Russians developed arms pipeline to Colombia that brought in numerous weapons and tons of other supplies to support FARC fight their war against the Colombian government (Holmes, Gutierrez de Pineres, and Curtin 250). The weapons included assault rifles, air missiles and military helicopters. The ammunition and weapons were sold to FARC rebels, and in return, the cargo planes that brought these weapons were loaded with 40, 000 kilograms of cocaine headed to Russia where the Russian mafia distributed the illicit drug for profits. McCollum asserts that FARC by early 2000s was extending its cooperation to the boundaries of the United States. The arrest of a FARC figure in Mexico convinced American and Mexican authorities of a Colombian link to the Arellano-Felix-run Tijuana cartel. The states department trusted that FARC supplied cocaine to the Tijuana cartel in order to receive weapons and cash (McCollum 31).

According to Horgan and Braddock, the international laws enforcement pressures the U.S. making terrorists and criminal organizations to decentralize their organizational structures. The law enforcement efforts of Mexico are making drug cartels in Mexico to break into small units (p.332). Even groups that still sustain some hierarchical arrangement such as the terrorist group Hezbollah, hold little power over their expansive network. This flattening of organized crime groups instigates novel and dangerous prospects for collaboration between terrorists and criminals. The activities of the terrorist operatives and criminal underlings are not limited because terrorist or criminal headquarters are no longer in a position to micromanage their taskforce. Mid-level and lower level criminals are capitalizing on their independence to create synergistic nexuses amid the two groups (Horgan and Braddock 332). Some political militant organizations have also established financial incentive mechanism to recruit and retain militants. Given that members join to make money, they quickly set ideological objectives. Terrorists and criminals have worked together on some level for a period. International money laundering crackdowns makes it intricate for terrorist financiers to send money to their operatives (Kalin, 742). This trend makes terrorist groups to seek for alternative funding through collaborating with drug cartels and other organized crimes (Horgan and Braddock 332).

Because of the overall decline in state financial support, and the temperament of their organizations, terrorists have found alternative sources of their funding. The sources include drug production and trafficking. Some terrorists have build up loose mutually advantageous links with drug traffickers to support both the drug traffickers' interests and their interests. However, international terrorism is not generally dependent on funds from drug production and drug trafficking or any other international crime. Terrorists are taking crime to create funds aimed at sustaining their activities. Terrorist group using crime path to raise money are not a new development in the modern. In the past scores of terrorist organizations involved low-level local crime to fund their activities. According to Innes, an editor, there is an emerging convergence between organized criminal networks and terrorists groups to the degree that a single entity all-together displays terrorist and criminal characteristics (p.103). However, the interests of these groups are served through upholding a degree of instability to continue involving themselves in lucrative criminal activities.

Impacts on the Mexican Government and the United States

Terrorists and people involved in organized crime are practical actors, operating clandestinely against the state. Both employ the use of violence or violence threats as means of achieving their objectives. Some of the tactics employed by terrorists and other criminals are akin and they include bombings, assassination, kidnappings, coercion, extortion and intimidation (Borgeson and Valeri 18). While criminal actions offer funds to terrorists groups, organized crimes syndicates use tactics of terrorists such as kidnappings and bombing to add credibility to their extortionist demands. For instance, in a series of attacks, drug cartels in Colombia assassinated Lara Bonilla in 2004, bombed the United States embassy in Bogota in 1984 and threatened to kill citizens from the U.S., in retaliation for seizure of drugs by Special Ant-Narcotic unit in Colombia. Consequently, in connection with terrorist group M-19, the drug cartels raided Colombia's Palace of Justice, killed eleven judges and damaged huge numbers of documents related to Colombian nationals awaiting extradition to the United States. Such activities show the link between drug cartels and terrorism and their effects to people and properties. As a result, convergence between terrorism and other organized crimes weakens the Mexican government besides loss of its credibility. These acts also instigate immigration as people escape for fear of attacks from terrorists and criminals.

Organized crimes in Mexico cost the country one percent of its yearly Gross Domestic Product. This is according to the Mexican Finance Ministry economic analysts, Messmacher Miguel. Drug trafficking are the major problems facing the country ( Morales 141) .The country's output on Marijuana increased to 44% in the years 2004 to 2006 making the country a top producer of the drug in the world. Former Mexican president, Felipe Calderon's efforts to crack down drug barons were successful. Instead, the country's police and soldiers get killed in line of duty, and are outnumbered by drug barons and terrorist groups. Drug linked deaths are left unsolved because of fear of increased murders of those involved in these cases.

Drug cartels are using illicit weapons Imported from America to control major sections of Mexico. This trend raises fears of terrorists' mafias controlling Northern Mexico parts and this not only threatens the country, its citizens and properties, it also acts as threat to the United States (Morales 141). This is because these terrorist mafias create instability on the Mexico, U.S. border and gain access to the U.S. According to the United States Department of Justice, Mexican gangs form the largest organized crime risk to the U.S. A former Homeland Security Secretratay, Chertoff Michael, ordered for the erection of 660-mile frontier boundary marker and surge of the United States law enforcement ability when the crimes spread cross the boundary between the United… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Mexico: Terrorism and Organized Crime.  (2013, March 30).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Mexico: Terrorism and Organized Crime."  30 March 2013.  Web.  18 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Mexico: Terrorism and Organized Crime."  March 30, 2013.  Accessed July 18, 2019.