U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Narco-Terrorism: The Merger of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 6 Issue: 3&4 Dated: August-November 2004 Pages: 305-324
Emma Bjornehed
Date Published
August 2004
20 pages
This study analyzed the phenomena of narco-terrorism and the practical measures utilized to counter this threat.
The concept of narco-terrorism originates from an understanding that the two phenomena of narcotics trafficking and terrorism are interconnected and subsequently that a coordination of anti-drug and anti-terror policy can be used, as well as necessary to effectively deal with both threats. Narco-terrorism has traditionally been connected with Latin America, however narco-terrorism is increasingly linked to the regions of Central and Southeast Asia, specifically the regions called the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. This article examines the concept of narco-terrorism in terms of the two phenomena it incorporates, as well as the anti-drug and anti-terror measures that take place as a result of the coordination of policy in relation to narco-terrorism. It emphasizes both similarities and dissimilarities between different kinds of narco-terrorist organizations and similarities and dissimilarities between counternarcotics and counterterrorism efforts. What is made clear is that narco-terrorism, although an important concept for counter measure efforts, it is still only a part of the threat image presented by the threats of narcotics. Terrorism and the entirety of the security threats cannot be eliminated if the main focus is placed only on the parts where they converge. 58 Notes