Organized crime can hold sway over political and economic institutions. Illegal business is growing more profitable every day. Can something be done to take down this global criminal network?
Corruption and drug trafficking are no longer just local problems. International groups working with terrorist organizations and politicians are ruthlessly spreading violence and endangering innocent lives. Complex infrastructures enable them to evade capture and punishment.
Drug smuggling is a competitive global business. Drug smugglers transport their goods from Latin America to Europe. From international money laundering to transnational murder for hire, we see the devastation underground business leaves in its wake. Murders, explosions, and targeted attacks - they affect not only criminals, but also their families, witnesses, journalists, and other innocent victims.
According to FBI and Europol documents, every country on earth now has its own criminal groups and cartels. They are also gaining a stronger footing in Germany. Take drug trafficking, for example: Germany is a well-organized market and central transport hub for opiates along the Balkan route. South America directly serves the U.S. market. Anyone attempting to expose these groups is placing her or his life on the line.
According figures from the World Bank, organized crime groups spend half of their annual two trillion dollar annual profits bribing politicians across the globe. Those operating with full cooperation from the authorities are behaving more like terror organizations: They use fear and terror, murder and manslaughter. But using the global financial system for money laundering is nothing new. The state earns money through taxes and terror groups get rich in the process.
Drugs and money are not the only things being transported. Smuggling people has also become a lucrative business for organized crime, bringing in about $150 billion each year.
Could conditions like those in Russia develop elsewhere, where politicians, secret services and criminals share common interests? Could this even happen in once stable democracies like the USA or core European states? Is there a way out? Or are law enforcement agencies powerless to stop them?