Global Dynamics

Inteligence Profiling

Any discussion of globalization begins with all the positive aspects of globalization including ease of communication(thought the internet), developing nations such as India have become leaders in computer technology, “Once known for its lush farmlands, it's now home to some of the best international and domestic technology companies which are creating millions of jobs for young Indian engineers from all across the country” (Kannan) What is rarely mentioned in discussions of globalization is the rise of international/transnational crime. As it has become easier for legitimate business to take place across national borders, it has also become easier for crime to occur across national boundaries.

The White House has identified transnational crime as a current and growing threat to U.S. national security, for example “Transnational organized crime (TOC) poses a significant and growing threat to national and international security, with dire implications for public safety, public health, democratic institutions, and economic stability across the globe. Not only are criminal networks expanding, but they also are diversifying their activities, resulting in the convergence of threats that were once distinct and today have explosive and destabilizing effects. This Strategy organizes the United States to combat TOC networks that pose a strategic threat to Americans and to U.S. interests in key regions.” (The White House) while transnational crime has been identified as a clear and present danger to the United States and its interests overseas, there is not one single easy answer for how to go about disrupting transnational crime organizations.

Part of the reason that transnational crime is so difficult for national security and law enforcement organizations to enforce regulations against this type of crime is the fact that “the term transnational crime is surrounded by various conceptual and empirical hurdles. It encompasses everything from trafficking in drugs to money laundering, from terrorism to pornography. Transnational crime is different from international crime, since illegal is not the same as illicit activities.” (Pandya 2012) Basically the problem becomes transnational crime means different things to different people. Meaning that various law enforcement and intelligence organizations take a different view of how to go about enforcement making and progress difficult.

Included in this confusion is the fact that transnational crime crosses borders in terms of intelligence and law enforcement organizations. “In the post-Cold War world, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and related money laundering are perceived both as criminal matters and as threats to the nation’s security. Often collectively termed transnational threats, these issues have become the concerns of law enforcement agencies as well as the U.S. Intelligence Community.” (Best 2001) Globalized crime now requires that U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement organizations work with one another to confront the dangers posed by transnational crime. Without the U.S. IC working with law enforcement agencies both organizations will have difficulties confronting the threat of transnational crime.

An example of the blurring of lines between criminal organization and transnational organized crime organization is the Latin American Street Gang known as Mara Salvatrucha or MS 13 “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha, known as MS-13, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. MS-13 is being targeted for its involvement in serious transnational criminal activities, including drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, and sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, racketeering, blackmail, extortion, and immigration offenses.” (Press Center) MS 13 is now recognized by the United States government as a transnational organized crime group. However, they are also involved in more traditional gang type activity which poses unique issues for law enforcement.

MS 13 have been identified as being involved with the following crimes “In a 2012 statement, the Treasury Department wrote: "MS-13 consists of at least 30,000 members in a range of countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, and is one of the most dangerous and rapidly expanding criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 is active within the United States, with at least 8,000 members operating in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia. MS-13's criminal nature can be seen in one of its mottos, "Mata, roba, viola, controla" ("Kill, steal, rape, control"). Domestically, the group is involved in multiple crimes including murder, racketeering, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and human trafficking including prostitution. The group frequently carries out violent attacks on opposing gang members, often injuring innocent bystanders. MS-13 members have been responsible for numerous killings within the United States." (CBS Interactive) This information indicates that MS 13 is involved in traditional gang violence such as drug trafficking and murder, but are also involved in transnational crime such as human trafficking. Therefore, prosecution of MS 13 will come from both the intelligence and law enforcement communities, in an attempt to end violence associated with MS 13 “US efforts at tackling MS-13’s illegal operations have rippled back to El Salvador, which is the destination of at least part of the gang’s financial proceeds. In recent years federal law enforcement officials pressed for the deportation of hundreds of MS-13 members from southern California – an action that overwhelmed El Salvador’s law enforcement capabilities and resulted in a sharp spike in violence” (LaFranchi) Deporting individuals associated with MS 13 have led to an increase in violence in Latin America, “Their activities have helped make the Northern Triangle -- Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras -- the most violent place in the world that is not at war.’’(More MS-13 News)

As these examples have shown it becomes difficult to identify simply transnational organized crime groups and street gangs or other organizations involved in street crime in the United States. Increasingly street gangs are becoming involved in transnational organized crime groups to traffic in narcotics and/or human trafficking. Due to this law enforcement organizations and intelligence organizations must work together to combat the growing threat of transnational crime.

Works Cited:

Best, Richard A. Intelligence and law enforcement countering transnational threats to the U.S. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2001.

Kannan, Shilpa. "Bangalore and India's digital future." BBC News. (accessed October 8, 2014).

LaFranchi, Howard. "MS-13 gang labeled transnational criminal group, a first for US street gang." The Christian Science Monitor. (accessed October 8, 2014).

"More MS-13 News." MS-13. (accessed October 8, 2014).

Pandya, Jessica Zacher. "Unpacking Pandora's Box: Issues in the Assessment of English Learners’ Literacy Skill Development in Multimodal Classrooms." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56, no. 3 (2012): 181-185. (accessed October 8, 2014).

"Press Center." Treasury Sanctions Latin American Criminal Organization. (accessed October 8, 2014).

The White House. "Transnational Organized Crime: A Growing Threat to National and International Security." The White House. (accessed October 8, 2014).

CBS Interactive. "U.S. government targets infamous street gang MS-13." CBSNews. (accessed October 8, 2014).