Start at Home: Taking Shared Responsibility for Transnational Organized Crime

By Council, National Security | Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Start at Home: Taking Shared Responsibility for Transnational Organized Crime


Council, National Security, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly


I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico, and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment... We are very mindful that the battle President Caldern is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle; it's also ours. We have to take responsibility just as he's taking responsibility. President Barack Obama speaking at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Caldern, March 3, 2011 We must begin our effort to disrupt TOC by looking inward and acknowledging the causes that emanate from within our own borders to fuel and empower TOC. The demand for illegal drugs within the United States fuels a significant share of the global drug trade, which is a primary funding source for TOC networks and a key source of revenue for some terrorist and insurgent networks.

Any comprehensive strategy to defeat TOC must seek to reduce the demand for drugs and other illegal goods that finance TOC networks. The President's National Drug Control Strategy emphasizes prevention, early intervention, treatment, and innovative criminal justice approaches to drive down drug use, and calls for continued support for the millions of Americans who are in recovery from addiction. Supported by a budget that increases resources for vital prevention and treatment programs, the National Drug Control Strategy seeks to reduce the size of the illegal drug market in the United States, depriving TOC networks of revenue while helping more of our citizens break the cycle of drug abuse and reducing the adverse consequences to our communities. We must also stop the illicit flow from the United States of weapons and criminal proceeds that empower TOC networks. The Administration has placed an increased emphasis on stemming these outbound flows, dedicating additional law enforcement, investigative, and prosecution resources to targeting TOC, such as deploying additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection "outbound teams" to our borders, screening outbound rail and vehicle traffic for weapons and bulk currency, and by investing additional resources in the integrated Border Enforcement Security Task Forces along the U.S.-Mexico border to investigate the organizations involved in cross-border crimes.

We will also work with Congress to seek ratification or accession to key multilateral instruments related to countering the illicit trafficking of weapons. Further, we will work with our international partners to build their law enforcement capacities, strengthen their judicial institutions, and combat the corrosive threat of corruption, while also recognizing that the United States itself is not immune to public corruption. …

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