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Organized Crime and the Narcotics Pipeline

NCJ Number
J Salzano
Date Published
26 pages
This analysis of the role of organized crime in drug trafficking in the United States, South America, and the Caribbean concludes that drug trafficking is highly organized and that a multiagency task force is needed to determine the most effective way to enhance cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement officials.
Drug trafficking is the most widespread and profitable organized crime enterprise in the United States. It accounts for nearly 40 percent of this country's organized crime activity and generates an annual income estimated as high as $110 billion. Over the past 40 years, the Cosa Nostra has received huge profits from trafficking narcotics such as heroin and cocaine. More recent organizations from Latin America now have a major role in the drug trade. These newer groups' sole source of income is drug-related crime, including the manufacture, refinement, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs. These traffickers are characterized by a significant level of violence and corruption. No single area of expertise can successfully address international organized crime. A multiagency task force is needed to consider both intelligence gathering and law enforcement. Finally, progress in drug control will occur incrementally rather than through a decisive victory. Footnotes and 10 references (Author abstract modified)


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