MAJOR TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES
IN PARALLEL FASHION, this chapter closely inspects transnational organized crime’s three major illicit global activities—illicit arms transfers, illicit drug transfers, and illicit human transfers. This discussion focuses on those segments of these three illegal transactions controlled by transnational organized crime. The evidence presented for the illicit cross-border activities incorporates the general scope and nature of each activity, the roots of and responses to each activity, the key subcategories of each activity, the choice of tactics of corruption versus violence, and the impact on individual/human security versus national/state security.
Like the major transnational criminal organizations, these three illicit transfers are tightly interconnected, with growing ties developing among illicit human transfers, illicit drug transfers, and illicit arms transfers.1 The myriad possibilities involved in these interconnected relationships among the three types of illicit transfers include that the profits made from the sale of illicit drugs have oft en fueled the purchase of covert arms to be used in insurgency or terrorist activities;2 that, since 2002, nuclear trafficking incidents have come to light showing the involvement of drug dealers and traffickers;3 that illegal aliens entering a country may serve as vehicles for transporting illicit drugs across borders undetected; 4 and that drug traffickers have used immigrants as slave labor in their drug business within their country of destination.5 As a specific example of one of these general patterns, it was reported in the early 1990s that the Italian Mafia used much of its profit in drug trafficking to purchase arms, which were later exported through a Syrian government connection to various Arab countries.6