Crime & Terrorism Converge: 

The growing nexus between gangs and terrorism has resulted in a unique type of threat. Since the 1980s, evidence of narcotics trade has been linked to terrorism and transnational organized crime.

Experts from law enforcement, Drug Enforcement Agency and Security and Intelligence backgrounds discussed the links between criminal activity and groups with terrorist acts and organizations; the political and economic effects of crime and terrorism on a national level; the need for policy to put distance and separation between the worst criminal groups and the worst terrorist organizations; and the similar characteristics and motivations that drive individuals to join criminal and terrorist groups.

Operating without borders and in areas of government instability, Latin American gangs, such as MS-13, and Mexican cartels have been financing terrorist operations through the drug trade. In the United States, Los Angeles gangs have been linked to Hezbollah and Minnesota groups have been linked to Al-Shabaab. Narco-trafficking is a lucrative business and terrorist organizations such as the FARC, Hezbollah, and al-Qa'ida take advantage of this black market.

Panelists included Mark Stainbrook, Assistant Chief, San Diego Harbor Police; Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Brookings Institution; and Anthony Placido, Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton and Former Assistant Administrator for Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Agency. 

This discussion is available for viewing in two parts:





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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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